Low-cost airlines are one of the best things about Europe (after the history, the food and the architecture, of course!). But if you are not a careful customer, you might end up paying just as much as you would with a national airline. And who wants to pay the bill and not get the free drinks, right? So unless you’re a little travel ninja, here are a few tips on how to avoid airline fees in Europe.
That’s the most obvious trick. With checked baggage fees going anywhere between 15 and 40 euros, it’s truly worth re-wearing the same clothes and carrying tiny bottles. With time, most travelers realize that they don’t even need half the stuff they packed anyway!
I’m not sure why, but checking in for your flight directly on the airline’s website is much cheaper than checking in directly at the airport. Not only do you save loads of time, but you can also manage to save around 10 euros per passenger, each way. That’s at least 20 euros right there, or a few glasses of wine, or a great meal at a restaurant!
Show up early
Forget the useless “priority boarding” option, unless you have special travel needs. For regular travelers, this option is not very useful as most of the time, you’ll end up on the same shuttle bus on the tarmac, and thus, you’ll get to the plane at the same time. Definitely one of the best tips on how to avoid airline fees!
Bring your own food/drinks. Even though you can’t bring drinks straight from home (thanks to the 150ml rule), you can carry an empty bottle and refill it once you’ve gone through security. You can also carry some snacks to enjoy during the flight and laugh at the people who spent 10 euros for a small bottle of water and bag of chips.
If you book your tickets online, you might want to have a look at the payment card you’ll be using. Different types of cards have different fees in different airlines. So whether you opt for Visa, debit, Electron, gift certificates or whatever else, try to find the cheapest option for you. With Ryanair, for example, you avoid the fees completely by opting for a prepaid Ryanair Mastercard. With EasyJet, debit cards are much cheaper. Make sure you take a moment to look at your options!
Have you ever flown on a low cost airline before? What are your tips on how to avoid airline fees? What’s the biggest rip-off you’ve had?