In a continuously, changing environment, changes occur, changes that can’t be predicted, especially in the past. Something similar happens to the means of mass transport and more specifically the air transports! The field of the airlines changes continuously as the competition and the constantly increasing need, lead the airlines to keep making changes to their strategical decisions In such a field a lot of low cost airlines have emerged, which by applying different strategies of lowering their operating cost, manage to gain bigger and bigger percentage of the market. The traveler who will choose to fly with a low cost airline should know a couple of things so that he won’t be placed in any unpleasant position, a position that might probably affect his journey and mood.
1. The low cost airlines use regional airports in order to pay lower operational taxes than those they would pay in a big national airport! Regional airports are fully compiled with the safety standards, but usually are located further away than the main airports that serve a city. The passenger, before booking his ticket, should better check how far is the regional airport, where he will land. By doing so he will estimate both the extra time he will be needing to arrive to his final destination and the cost of transport there.
2. In order to decrease the final price of the ticket, many airlines don’t offer lunch or some beverage or even water during the flight. In short flights this is not a problem, however when we talk about longer flights the passenger might need to buy his lunch or some water, by paying usually more than the true value of the product. So prior to the flight a passenger should know what the airline offers in flight.
3. The luggage handling is done by companies that the airport has signed deals with. So these handling companies are paid by the airline in order to move safely the luggage from and to the airplane. So in order to decrease more the operating cost ( thus the ticket prices ), the low cost airlines allow, in most occasions, only one handbag and they charge any other by its weight. Therefore in case someone wants to take lots of stuff, he should calculate the extra cost.
4. Some of the services have been automated by the airlines to reduce even more the operating expenses. The passenger should know that he might has to do the check in on his own, through the internet. In case the passenger checks in in the airport will have to pay extra fee. For young people this might not be a problem but the elders are not that familiar.
5. The airplanes that are used by the low cost airlines are distinguished for the high density rows of seats they have. So while in the Airbus A 320, for instance, the typical seating capacity is 150 seats, in business class and economy, in a low cost airplane the capacity is the maximum 180 seats. More passenger, more income, lower cost of flight per passenger. As you understand this affects the passenger’s comfort. Again for short flights this is not much of a problem, for longer flights though the passenger’s discomfort is certain, especially for big guys.
6. Apart from their low price, the tickets that low cost airlines issue, in most cases are not refundable. A passenger might have booked a cheap ticket for a flight scheduled 6 months later, however if something changes in his program he will loose the money. At the end he might even pay more.
7. The flights depart or arrive either too early in the morning or late in the night and that has to do with the operating cost of the so called airport slots. An airline “buys” the hours over a period in the timetable when its airplanes will land or take off in the respective airports. Obviously during the most normal hours are the slot are the most expensive.
8. If you want to book cheap tickets make sure you do it not days or weeks before, but months. All these offers and cheap fairs most of the time are issued for flights someone will book long ago! As closer to the date of your flight you get, the less cheaper the price of the ticket will be.
All the above will help the designated passenger to comprehend and accept the way the low cost airlines works, so that he consciously choose to travels with one of them. The lower fairs are welcome but this must not be the only criterion. The final decision is the passenger’s.
Πηγή φωτογραφιών: Airbus.com, wikipedia.com, mezzoglobal.com, macleans.ca, i.huffpost.com