Why I don’t mind budget airlines

In all other aspects of my life, I can be a little bit of a snob. I buy fancy food, I like nice wine and a decent restaurant. But get me to an airport and I really could not care less what kind of plane I’m on. As long as it’s got wings and gets me to my destination, I don’t care. I’m not suggesting that budget airlines aren’t sometimes pretty awful, but I don’t think I’ll stop using them any time soon. Yep, I’m pro-budget airlines and here’s why.

1. You’re only on the plane for a few hours. Obviously, I’d rather be lying back with a glass of bubbly. But if I’m flying to Berlin, by the time I’ve had a glass of wine and a nap, I’ve arrived in another country. I wouldn’t entertain flying budget long-haul, but if you’re in the air for less than three hours, what’s the problem?

2. Other airlines are unreliable too. I’ve been delayed by several airlines, but never, ever Ryanair. Really. EasyJet once. And I use them more than any other. I know it happens, but it happens to other airlines too, doesn’t it?

3. The money-grabbing often makes me have a better journey. The speedy booking amuses me. Watching people rush to get the best seat on a plane will always make me laugh. Once you’re sat down, it doesn’t really matter, does it? I pack lighter because I only want to carry hand luggage. I enjoy using my left over Euros to buy a glass of wine on my return flight.

4. Low cost airlines make me fly to unusual places. This is a clincher for me. I don’t always want to go from A-B. Or the typical European cities. I like trying new places and if I spot a £1 flight to Parma, I’ll book it. I might never have thought to go to Parma otherwise. You might not have conventional options, but you have different ones. It makes me a more adventurous traveller. And a more organised one. Once I realise I’m going to be at an airport in the middle of nowhere, I’m much better prepared.

5. And they’re cheap! I hate the sneaky tricks, such as Ryanair’s £5 per person per flight admin charge (which can be avoided if you read Karen’s post  Best Mastercard prepad debit card to avoid Ryanair Fees).  Yes, paying to use debit card is annoying, I don’t dispute that but again this can be largely avoided by paying with a Visa Electron. But even after all of that, they’re still cheaper than most airlines. And if you get tax-free flights, you’re quids in. But if my flight to another country is only costing me £30, I think I’ll live. And spend the money I’ve saved exploring a new country.

I would love to fly business class around the world. I think anyone would. If I’m flying long-haul, I want the more luxurious option. But for flying across Europe, I’ll take the no frills option. And I’ll enjoy. At least until you have to pay to use the bathroom anyway.

Flickr image from Terry Wha‘s photostream.