In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of low cost airlines. With Southwest Airlines leading the way, new entrants RyanAir and EasyJet quickly attracted mainstream travelers in Europe and brought low cost airlines out of the shadows. The European low fare airlines have become so popular in fact that airline rates are often substantially lower than train tickets for travel between European capitals. In the US, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airways, Air Tran, Jet Blue and now Virgin America have all made a name for themselves as low fare carriers. Recently there has also been low fare expansion with routes between major US gateways and cities in Europe. Eurofly Airlines for instance flies popular routes between the United States and Italy at about half the fare as the legacy carriers.
But here’s where it gets tricky. There are fees involved to have tickets distributed through online booking sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, etc. Many low fare airlines refuse to pay those fees and all tickets must be purchased directly through their site. This makes it very difficult to comparison shop or even find the right low cost airline for the route you’ll be traveling. Luckily, a new breed of airline search engines have popped onto the marketplace to address just this need. Each of these sites scan both major legacy airlines AND low cost airlines to deliver the lowest airfare back to you. Have a look:
Low Cost Airlines (http://www.lowcostairlines.com)
Which Budget (http://www.whichbudget.com)
You will likely be presented with choices on airlines you have never even heard of, so its important to do your homework once you’ve narrowed down your choices of flights. The low fare airlines do not have low prices out of the goodness of their hearts, they scrimp on service wherever they can to save money. You’ll want to visit the airline’s site to read about their rules,
restrictions and fees before purchasing a ticket. Also, expect to pay extra for each piece of checked luggage, every drink of liquid, morsel of food, or bit of entertainment. Finally, see what other travelers have had to say about their flight performance on consumer rating sites like Jaunted (http://www.jaunted.com) and Epinions (http://www.epinions.com).
With a bit of advanced planning, you’ll be flying to your next vacation destination at a fraction of the regular price.
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