14 July 2009

Budget Airlines - They're Just Not Worth It

In these challenging times, many cost-conscious travellers often think they can save a few pounds by travelling with one of the many budget carriers such as Ryan Air or EasyJet. If you want to enjoy your trip, then I implore you not to. A regular airline such as British Airways may be slightly more expensive when booking, but often by the time hidden costs are added, the savings are not that substantial. In addition the minimal costs savings, the whole "user experience" tends to be somewhat better with a regular airline.

A typical flight on a budget airline starts of all well enough, but with no allocated seating you could end up arguing with a chav from Essex because he doesn't want to be separated from any of the 17 illegitimate kids that he is taking with him to his annual pilgrimage to Majorca. Inflight services are non-existent unless you are ready to open your wallet, where you find the foot options are of the quality you would expect while shopping with a severe hangover. Roughly about halfway through the flight, you will be offered a chance to buy a lottery ticket. Has anyone actually ever actually won anything? What is the maximum prize? Naturally, this key information is witheld from you as they try to find yet more ways to part you from your wallet. I am suprised they haven't installed coin slots alongside the reading that you have feed while you read anything to distract you from the 3 hours of tedium.

When it gets to landing at your destination, you are lucky if the plane parks up in the same airport that it landed at. In an attempt to keep their costs down, these budget airlines will pay for the remote spots that are normally reserved for keeping hijacked planes away from the airport buildings. On a recent flight into Gatwick, the shuttle bus had to take us so far, I was convinced that then plane had parked up in a field in deepest West Sussex.

Finally, when you do actually to get to the airport and passport control, there are normally about 12 plane loads of budget travellers trying to get past the 2-man team of immigration controllers. Bedlam is assured while you hope that your baggage was loaded on to the plane that you were on, and the handlers did not decide to test the off-road capabilities of their baggage trucks on it.

So, use BA, Singapore or whomever (except Air France) for all your flying needs!