Why my first time flying a budget airline is most definitely going to be my last
February 10, 2016
As a travel hungry college student, I'll take an overnight bus or two if it means exploring somewhere new. So imagine when my boyfriend comes to me on Monday night saying, "Let's go to Austin, Texas for our anniversary." Our anniversary (one year, woohoo!) was that weekend so, rightfully so, I ask when. And more importantly, how much is this going to cost? He replies with, "We will leave Thursday at 2:30. Oh it's only thirty dollars for a roundtrip plane ticket."
I'm sorry, but did you say THIRTY DOLLARS? For a roundtrip ticket? Where do we sign up? That is unheard of and (now we know) unbelievably low for direct roundtrip flights. Let's do this!
We checked the airline's (which I will leave unamed) site and saw that there were only eight seats left. We found the best Airbnb, booked it, and headed back to the ticket site.
Here is where our dreams went to die.
First off, the tickets are adverstised and $30. We assumed that meant $30, with a few fees and what not, coming out to around $75. Still totally doable and very much worth it. But boy, were we mistaken.
This airline charges you $30 for basically just saying you will be on this flight. Then, it takes you to a page with the available seats where you can choose where you sit...but you have to pay. No, not pay for the better seat. Pay for any seat, ranging anywhere from $12-$19. Together, we were coming out to about $100. Still, not bad, but annoying. Very annoying.
But wait! There is more fees! Lucky us. $40 to check a bag? Another $30 for a carry-on that can't fit under the seat infront of me? So, basically, I am paying you to bring a carry-on that I will load myself. Listen, I understand the checked bag because somebody else loads and unloads, but asking me to pay for my carry-on I drag around is just a little crooky.
If we were smart, my boyfriend and I would have packed one big bag for the two of us and saved $40, but naturally, in our hurried ticket-buying, we weren't. Now we were up to $180. Once again, not bad but were seriously annoyed.
Once the bags were bought, the seats chosen, and service fees paid for, we came out to a bitter $267. That is over $200 the advertised flight! Okay, listen. I know that is usually what one roundtrip ticket usually costs so I can't complain too much. But, call it young traveler stupidity or just being naive, but this was seriously a bummer! If an airline advertises itself as budget-friendly with pocket change flight prices, it should be just that.