6 ways to improve your low-cost flight experience
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If you’ve managed to avoid flying a low-cost airline then you might be an outlier. Not only are airlines such as Ryanair and Wizz Air often the cheapest option, but sometimes a low-cost airline can be the best way to get where you want to go.
If you do end up flying low-cost, there are some great ways to improve your otherwise bare-bones flying experience. We’ve outlined six of them below.
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Use an airport lounge
Believe it or not, lounges are not just for passengers flying in business class, first class or passengers with elite status. They’re a great way to get away from the masses in larger airports. Of course, the quality of lounges depends greatly on the airport you’re flying from and the type of lounge you find yourself in. Before you travel, research the lounges that are available at your airport.
Let’s use Orlando International Airport (MCO) as an example. The Club at MCO has outlets in Terminal A (home to Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Sunwing and Avelo) and Terminal B (home to Spirit Airlines, Volaris, WestJet, GOL and Sun Country). For a £38 day pass, you get complimentary snacks and beverages, including beer, wine and premium spirits, newspapers, free Wi-Fi and space to work.
The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card comes with a Priority Pass membership, so you can use this perk to get into more than 1,300 lounges worldwide. Spending time relaxing in a lounge and having some decent food is certainly a great alternative to paying for overpriced and often subpar airport food.
Pay for seat selection
Paying for a specific seat can be an annoying extra cost when flying, especially with a family or in a group, and it’s one not limited to low-cost carriers these days. However, it could make sense to pay for a seat on your low-cost flight rather than being allocated a seat randomly, as it will most definitely make your journey more comfortable.
The two main factors to consider are the proximity of the seat to the front and back of the plane, as low-cost airlines tend to board and deplane via both the front and the back. The closer you are to the doors, the quicker you can leave the plane once you’ve landed. Then there’s the issue of legroom. If you’re tall, then paying for a seat with extra legroom will make a huge difference.
For some airlines, seat prices vary from £0.84 to £210. When deciding which seat to pay for, consider the amount that you paid for the ticket originally and whether the additional seat cost would add sufficient improvement to your journey.
Keep in mind that if you’re travelling as a family, some of the low-cost carriers offer preferred seat selection methods where you’ll be seated together without having to pay extra. Do your research to make sure you’re not overpaying for a benefit you’d otherwise get for free.
Use fast-track airport security
Some airports, like London Gatwick (LGW), have fast track lanes where you can pay extra to beat the queues at security on departure and also at customs on arrival.
Depending on the time of day, this can save you significant time, especially in the peak summer months when airports are more crowded than usual. It can cost as little as £5 per person — a small price to pay for a more relaxing airport experience.
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