Stickers are cheap…

We’ll be the first to admit it – we’re guilty. There’s nothing better than advertising $235 round trip fares to other continents, and sometimes they’re true, but often, there’s a greater price. Discount carriers are the new media kings and queens, creating fares instantly destined for headlines. But much like (many) Hollywood romances – things aren’t always what they seem. Here are a few things to consider before purchasing that “cheap” deal.

Seat Assignment

Virtually no discount airline includes the cost of a seat assignment with the cost of your ticket. That’s not to say it still cannot be a great deal, but it’s important to remember. Discount airlines generally have less legroom and less recline, so assigning a great seat (or a whole row) can be crucial to your in flight happiness. Compare discounter prices here.

Weight Restrictions

We’re not saying you need to go on a diet – but your luggage might. Discount airlines strictly weigh your carry on – and they virtually all charge for checked luggage. If you have some heavy baggage (no judgement here) you need to figure out just how much you may pay for the privilege of bringing it, since it could invalidate any savings versus mainstream, legacy airlines.

Points, Miles

Some discount carriers are rolling out loyalty programs, and occasionally they can be beneficial. But in general, you won’t earn anything for flying a discount carrier. What we’re trying to say is – if you are saving towards a wonderful use of points, saving $25 versus earning 3,000 miles just may not be worth it. The more you fly, the more this matters.

Wacky Airports

This is definitely the first time we’ve ever used “wacky”, but it’s accurate. Many discount airlines save on costs by flying in and out of obscure, out of the way airports. Of course – this is not always the case, but it’s an important consideration before booking a “discount ticket”. Saving $50 bucks on airfare, but then paying an extra $100 to get to the airport just doesn’t make sense, at least to us.

The Seats

For a certain price, we’ll take a bit of pain, but on longer flights – there’s a greater cost. Getting jabbed in the back by someones knees for 7+ hours can really put a damper on the whole “vacation” idea, so before you go in for a cheap ticket, compare the amenities, legroom, meals and entertainment you’ll get it. if it’s on par, go for it, if not – consider finding a few more bucks for a standard airline ticket.

What’s your experience with discount carriers been?