There are some things to keep in mind with low cost carriers that can prepare you for a realistic experience. The best way to understand a low cost airline is to know what they are trying to achieve. They seek to deliver a quick and safe travel experience for a lower price.
Most carriers have friendly and efficient staff who accomplish everything quickly and safely to get things moving. This is especially true with carriers like Air Asia. In Europe carriers like Easy Jet and Wizz Air deliver a good experience at great rates with a smile. Other airlines offer no thought to comfort and can be downright rude. They may take advantage of your time in the air with them to turn a flight into a market. In such cases in Europe -Ryanair- we have experienced everything from sales of scratch cards to bikini calendars featuring actual airline stewardesses, to almost any conceivable item being sold. One must pay attention to the proposed destination because some may be misleading. For instance one may be bound for “Paris” only to discover that to save costs this carrier lands in a farm village almost an hour from Paris.
Be aware that low cost carriers do not handle connections like regular airlines. Even if you buy the ticket all at once it is only a series of one-way flights, at every stop you are responsible for collecting your luggage and checking in for the next flight. And finally it may sound drastic, but understand that some of these carriers are only businesses and they might not be bailed out like a larger airline would be if they run a deficit. It has even happened to us that a ticket bought in advance was lost when the airline went out of business.
In spite of downsides and certain inconsistencies the benefits are evident. Above all is the aspect of price. Where else can you get a plane ticket for such an affordable rate? Often there is no option that is as quick and affordable as one of these flights. The first benefit as a result of this speedy, safe and affordable method is that both our experiences and statistics show that these airlines have a great track record for being on time. They make their profits by moving large groups over shorter distances and so time is of the essence. As the name itself suggests low cost means a minimal fee. Be aware that you are buying something with no perks. You cannot choose your seat and luggage is limited. You may get your seat selection and add luggage for a reasonable price. Food options are abundant for the most part, but be prepared to pay for them since not even a piece of candy will be given to you. Taking the approach that one is simply buying an economical and efficient ticket and just that will be the most beneficial attitude for the whole flight experience.
Other good aspects are that airplanes are quite new and it is nice to ride in something that feels wonderful and inspires confidence. Many major airlines would do well to invest in this kind of quality too. Schedules are flexible enough to be adjusted during the year, adding and removing flights and the number of flights can be helpful for a wider variety of options. The large network which these carriers fly is a great way to get to a vast array of cities and countries which other airlines might not fly. In summary, low cost airlines can be valuable assets in our quest for travels. Not all are the same and some have much better options and standards than others. They definitely may have a unique and innovative role to play in all of our future travel plans.