Europe is full of budget airlines and yet I’ve managed to avoid them, until this week. I bought a roundtrip on TAP, but I decided it would be easier to fly back earlier, so I bought a ticket on EasyJet. Still no plans to use RyanAir though.
Decline of service
I find it funny how much people complain about flying. I see it as more of situation of you get what you pay for. If you would like to pay $19 for a two hour flight, then you may have to be cramped, forego a check in bag, and go without a snack. If you want better service you are free to fly other airlines or pay for another class. Airlines have simply been taking our actions of getting the cheapest fares and acting accordingly to try to reduce their costs. Simply, you get what you pay for, but there are deals and there are always airline miles.
Since it has been a race to the bottom, there isn’t even that much difference between traditional and budget airlines. Flying jetBlue is probably more comfortable that United Basic Economy and if you fly Southwest you get free bags checked. One thing I enjoy about budget carriers is that they are efficient. Their business model is to maximize the use of their most expensive item, the plane. This means they try to minimize the time it spends on the ground. Southwest gives bonuses based on performance and I’ve seen pilots help clean the cabin as I was getting off the plane.
Should you fly them?
I would totally recommend budget carriers because they do a great job at transporting you. If you are looking at a flight as the experience rather than as a means of transport then you should be willing to pay more for the flight. We prefer to save our money for the food and very occasional attraction. Consider this: would you be willing to get paid $50 an hour to be a bit uncomfortable on a plane? If so, then the budget carrier is the way to go. I’m 6′ 2″ and it works for me. In fact, it is nice when I go on planes where the seat doesn’t recline because then no one gets in my space.
Continue building up your stash of points so you can fly for free in your preferred class on your preferred airline. When that isn’t possible then a budget airline is probably the way to go. When searching you may have to go directly to their websites as they do not show up on aggregation sites like Kayak or Google Flights. This is because they want to save money which in turn means cheaper flights for you. Good luck traveling!