How To,  Tips

How to Fly Budget Airlines Without Getting F*!?ed Over

Budget airlines are both the most frustrating method of travel and the greatest thing ever. I mean, it’s hard to beat an airfare below $100… until you get absolutely screwed over. Suddenly, the budget flight is waaaayyyy more expensive than you had anticipated.

Here’s how to avoid that.

Making the Booking

Not all budget airlines are created equal.

For example, AirAsia is possibly the best budget airline ever. Then there’s RyanAir. Like all airlines, some are better than others.

In Europe, I like to use EasyJet over RyanAir. In Asia, AirAsia beats LionAir in my books. Before you go, do your research on what to expect. It might be worth flying one budget airline over another, even if the cost is slightly more expensive. RyanAir’s new baggage policy makes you pay for a standard size cabin bag now (you’re only allowed a small personal item!), but EasyJet still allows you to take a cabin bag free of charge.

Double check EVERYTHING.

And then triple check it. My boyfriend’s laptop autocorrected my name and the airline wanted to charge us £120 to change my name! That was more than twice the price of the ticket. Luckily, there were still free seats, so we booked another ticket, but if the flight’s full, you might have to pay that much.

Check EVERYTHING- passport number, names, dates of travel… Everything.

Buy add – ons when making the booking.

Add-ons like check in luggage and seat reservations will be cheapest when you’re making the booking. If you’re tall, extra legroom seats might be worth the splurge. Budget airlines have notoriously little legroom.

If you’re REALLY set on sitting next to someone else in your party, it’s better to reserve seats. Some airlines are nice and will try to seat you together, but others purposely seat you apart. If you have children in your party, definitely book your seats, as I’ve heard horror stories where mothers are assigned seats away from their 5 year olds.

Before the Flight

Have your boarding pass ready.

Read the fine print of your ticket. Sometimes you can’t use an app’s mobile boarding pass depending on your nationality, and sometimes you’re required to print out the boarding pass. It’s so important to get rid of the assumption that you can just turn up and get a boarding pass on the spot. If you do that, you might get charged some hefty fees to print out a sheet of paper.

Pack the right bag.

The best way to fly budget airlines is carry-on luggage only. It saves you a significant amount of money! However, it’s important to remember that your bag fits within the dimensions the airline requires. It’s not uncommon for them to check your bag is small enough at the gate, so pack lightly or buy a check in. Or wear a million layers like I do.

Buy food before embarkation.

Airport food is really expensive, but the markup on airPLANE food? Criminal! I highly recommend grabbing a snack from home or while at the airport in order to save a couple bucks.


I hope these tips help you on your next budget flight! Any other tips? Leave them below.

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Here are my best tips to flying a budget airline without getting totally screwed over.
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12 Comments

  • Anya

    It’s very easy to overpay for your flight when choosing budget airlines, that’s so true! Just recently I made a mistake not purchasing baggage in advance and ended up overpaying at the airport. Eventually, my luggage costs were two times more than a flight itself. It’s very important to plan everything in advance!

  • Nina

    Great list, people should be extra careful when they travel with low budget airlines. I am flying all the time with Ryanair or Easyjet because they are the cheapest to go home or visit my mum. But every time I have used Easyjet they have been late, lol. Ryanair now with this new baggage policy is trying to rip off people. At the end of the day, I am not sure which of the two is better. I am flying at the end of the week with Easyjet, so hopefully, I will arrive on time, as the flight is quite late in the evening.

  • Sami

    I took an EasyJet flight when in Europe and I was shocked at the cheap price and how it was not too bad in my opinion! I just paid extra for my checked bag but other than that, it was smooth sailing. But I have heard horror stories about the other cheap airlines. I am wanting to go to Iceland and you can imagine the stories about their airline. I may have to compare to other airlines! Great post!

  • Lisa

    I totally agree – budget airlines can be a necessary evil! The worst part is the mad scramble for a seat, everyone eyeing each other at the gate, elbows at the ready, strategising where they can weed out the weaklings in the herd…

  • Chirasree Banerjee

    I can completely relate to these points. You have really done a very good job. All the important points are there and in really really helpful. In Europe, I travel a lot with EasyJet and in the USA I take Frontiers. As you said I travel only with carry-ons and buy food from outside.

    • Anya

      Thanks so much! I love love love easyjet – it’s one of my favourite budget airlines in Europe! I haven’t been flying in the US in ages, but I’ll have to try Frontiers when I do! 🙂

  • Linda de Beer

    Thanks for these great tips to remind me what to check for when I next book with a budget airline. It totally sucks that one has to pay extra for simply reserving an ordinary seat or for a cabin bag. And a fresh sandwich from the bakery at the airport tastes a lot better than the stale airline sandwiches anyway.

  • Jen

    Gah I hate all of the add ons! It’s almost false advertising, you think you’re getting a deal but then still have to pay to check your bag in..

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