If you are flying overseas, make sure you shop your airfare. Discount airlines around the world could save you big money if you do your homework ahead of time.
Americans may remember saving big on the world’s first low-cost airline, Southwest Airlines. For a time, the airline offered discounted fares for flying out of smaller airports and eliminating frills from flying. Southwest eventually expanded into a major U.S. airline and became as expensive at the other legacy airlines in the nation. However, the great news is many startup airlines around the world adopted the model. Low-cost airlines are thriving in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.
Low-cost airlines have a few things in common no matter what continent you are crossing. Most offer few thrills and on many, you pay for service a la carte. Therefore you may have to pay for your bags, snacks and reserving your seat for additional fees. On most, you will purchase tickets one way. You will often need to fly out of a city’s smaller airport such as London Luton instead of Heathrow, or instead of Milan’s Malpensa International airport, Bergamo’s Il Caravaggio Airport.
In Europe, low-cost airlines include airBaltic, airBerlin, Blue Air, Brussels Airlines, easyJet, Estonia Air, Germanwings, Helvetic Airways, Norwegian, Pegasus Airlines, Ryanair, SmartWings, TUIFly, Vueling and Wizz Air. I have flown easyJet and Norwegian before and they have saved me big bucks. You don’t have to live in a European city to take advantage of the savings.
Take this example from tonight. Let’s say you were planning a trip to Moscow from Chicago on December 26 (four weeks from today) and returning on January 4. Booking this flight on United would cost $2,810. However, flying United to Barcelona and then flying Spain’s Vueling discount airline to Moscow on the same days would cost $1,711 + $355.74, or $2,066.74. That’s a savings of $743!
Here’s another example. Let say I wanted to visit the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia in a couple of months. Flying United from Chicago, it would cost $3,190. However, flying United to Bangkok and then flying Thailand’s Bangkok Airways discount airline to Siem Reap would cost $1,091 + $240 (7,895 baht), or $1,331. I could save $1,859.
You cannot always depend on Kayak to find these deals. Some discount airlines are not listed if you search via the popular search engine. Always research the low-cost carriers on the continent you are visiting. You could save a lot of money!
Categories: Travel Tips