Flying An Ultra Low Cost Airline

Flying An Ultra Low Cost Airline
by Shawn Gable, Marketing Manager – Harrisburg International Airport

I recently took a family vacation, and in the process, I had the opportunity to fly on an ultra-low-cost airline.

I was able to secure low cost airfare to and from Orlando, so when flying with a family of four, it was definitely a cost saver on tickets alone. We did pay $25 each way to check one standard suitcase, but other than that, we decided not to pay for any extras including seat assignment, beverages and snacks, carry-on luggage, etc. The airline allows you to bring on a personal item such as a backpack, as long as it fits under the seat in front of you, so every member of my party had a properly sized backpack for the trip.

The day before our trip, I checked in for our flight using the airline’s mobile phone app. It showed our seats were randomly assigned within two rows of the plane on windows and aisles. While we were traveling with children, we were hoping we would be seated next to each other, but as it states on the airline website, this is not a guarantee. I called the airline’s customer service number and they made a note on my reservation and told me to ask at airport check-in when I checked my bag to see if they could accommodate. We were lucky that when I asked at the counter, our seat requests were accommodated. I can only believe that this is not always the case being that the plane was completely full.

6 days later, I checked in online once again with the same situation, seats in two rows on windows and aisles. The next morning, when checking my bag, I made the request again to be seated together. For a second time, my family was luckily placed in seats all together. Again, with a full plane I felt very lucky to have this accommodation made.

Flying an ultra-low-cost airline is not for everyone. It does add a level of stress that many people choose not to deal with. Making sure you are early to the counter, not guaranteeing your seat assignment, making requests with airline customer service on the phone, these are all examples of tasks that may not be worth a traveler’s time.

While not every situation would be the same, I know that being courteous and friendly to the staff at the counter always helps, as well as being prepared in advance. This includes having all paperwork and identification in hand when you get to the counter, suitcases properly labeled and the correct weight, and most importantly a smile and a good attitude.

Image Credit: Exodus Travel