Budget airline or high quality airline?

@maximax8 (27048)
August 14, 2009 4:25am CST
This year I traveled on a high quality airline from London to Cape Town and the flight lasted 12 hours. Last year I traveled on a budget airline from Bristol to Rig in Latvia. There was so little leg room and problems with the mean luggage allowance. I have sometimes got to a destination more cheaply than normal by stopping off en route just to change planes. I did that from London to Nairobi and then on to the Seychelles. It was fine going there but coming home there was a long layover at Nairobi Airport. I have found airports vary in quality and size. Singapore has the best airport in the world I think. Have you been on a budget low cost airline? If so how did it go? Do you like to go on high quality airlines? Which airports have you been to? Have you found a best one yet?
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13 responses
@mikeyo105 (125)
• Hong Kong
14 Aug 09
I recently flew into Nairobi.. took a trip through kenya and down to Tanzania and flew out of Dar Es Salaam... let me tell you that both airports are hard to bear.. it was just so boring.. so incredibly boring and nothing to do and I really couldn't wait to get out of those airports ( I think the idea of malaria mosquitoes around and the fact that it wasnt air conditioned also bugged me a bit.. ) but yeah! .. i'm from hong kong and I love the hong kong international airport.. it's a really nice airport and possibly the best in the world in my opinion. i do like O'Hare international even though people seem to hate it.. JFK is a mess.. especially the international terminal ... singapore was alright.. I really like Narita Airport actually.. and everything else didn't make a big enough impression to stand out.. all the US airports are alright but pretty average. I personally fly any airline company as i see the flight part not particularly important.. true it does get painful with long haul flights but that's okay.. the price difference makes sitting through coach worth it. business is just too expensive.. at least for my age and i'm 6'3 tall.. imagine how much i must hate the tiny leg room. I might not even fit into those seats with budget airlines.. but usually i go for big airlines that offer semi cheap tickets.
@maximax8 (27048)
14 Aug 09
Thanks for your excellent response. I didn't think about the worry of possibly catching malaria when I was waiting around at Nairobi Airport. I had been to the Seychelles on that lovely trip. I had come into Mombasa Airport when I had been on my trip to Kenya. Yes, Hong Kong Airport, I really like. The largest airport I have been to is Los Angeles and the smallest have was the Cook Islands. I notice you are over 6 foot tall so I can't imagine how uncomfortable it must be for you on low cost flights. It sounds like you know to get great deals on good airlines. I only went in business class the time I got a free upgrade from Male in the Maldives to London.
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@mipen2006 (5528)
• Australia
14 Aug 09
I travelled on a budget airline for the first time in December last year, and swore I would never do it again, for much the same reasons thay you mention. Our stop over was Singapore where there is a terminal especially for budget airline passengers, and you have to check customs out and in again there. Such a drag. However, when I was pricing our recent flight to Melbourne, direct from Bangkok, it was great. No movie, and limited luggage allowance, but what we saved made it worthwhile.
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@maximax8 (27048)
14 Aug 09
Hi my friend Mipen. I have been through Singapore Airport using good quality airlines. It is interesting they now have a terminal for budget airline passengers. On a long trip I tend to carry more stuff than on a two week trip. Bangkok to Melbourne on a budget airline must have been tolerable but a bit boring with no movie. For me the baggage allowance is difficult to abide by because my toddler son is disabled he needs lots of things. Going from London to Latvia we were allowed one bag of up to 15kg.
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@mipen2006 (5528)
• Australia
14 Aug 09
Hey max, the trip to Melbourne was overnight, and I took my first ever sleeping tablet, and it worked. I did pay extra for our bags. Overall it was a fair bit cheaper than the regular flights. My wife has no problem using the same airline when she returns, so I know it wasn't that bad. Take care.
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@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
14 Aug 09
Hi maximax, the best airline I ever flew on was air France but then again I always prefer an almost empty flight so they tend to stand out. I haven't used a budger airline yet but would, but I've not done any travelling by plane in the last severl years. As to airports I think our local one, Kalamata, is excellent. It is a military airport and does not open every day for flights and is closed to commercial flights for six months of the year but it's very friendly. It achieved international fame with the 'plane spotters' incident a few years back when a group of English plane spotters were arrested as spies for taking photographs of planes there despite the signs.
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@maximax8 (27048)
14 Aug 09
Hi Theo. It made me laugh when I read about the plane spotters because arrested at Kalamata Airport. Only twice have I taken photos of planes. It was in a tiny airport on a Pacific island that I took a photo of the plane that would be taking me on to New Zealand. I traveled on a plane in the Maldives that had been made for sightseeing. Its wings were above the windows. I had to take a photo of that interesting plane. Yes, an almost empty flight is a delight and I slept on three seats from Fiji to Sydney. My favorite airlines are Qantas, Air New Zealand and Virgin Atlantic. Air France goes to some amazing destinations.
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• Malaysia
16 Aug 09
I usually travel to a short distance journey by low cost carrier. It is 30%-60% cheaper that the normal / high quality airline. I usually travel back to my hometown in Borneo which takes 2 hours and 45 minutes flight by low cost carrier. I have never tried any low cost carrier to a longer journey yet. Seats does matters to me I do find low cost carrier has a little space for my leg. Besides that i do find Asian flights have smaller seats. Correct me if I am wrong. If money doesn't matter , i will opt for high quality airlines. I get better quality meals and beverages last but not least the services by the airline company either before or on flight is definitely much more better than the low cost carrier. Lately I have been to the airport in Bali, Narita, Miami, LAX, Bangkok etc... I kinda like Bangkok and Narita Airport they have this small massage parlor :). For me I do think all airport look the same, may be its just varied from the size, the facilities, shoppes or the cleanliness of the airport.I guess Las Vegas airport is a bit different than others. Slot machines are to be found everywhere in the airport.
• Malaysia
15 Aug 09
so far i prefer budget airline, just because of the cost that i can save. i would rather use the money to spend on my trips than spending on a quality airline and the money save is quite significant.
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@rtslvtwy (1091)
• Malaysia
15 Aug 09
In fact I had some very bad experiences with budget airline before when i took my family for a vacation 2 years ago. The plane got delayed and i could not catch the next connecting flight and i had to wait another 3 hours before getting on the next plane. But, I guess nowadays with the stiff competition, most quality airlines are also reducing their rates and it's much more affordable now to take quality airlines with special promo rates than to take budget airlines.
15 Aug 09
If you are low on money, I would suggest going with a budget low-cost airline for your travels. I prefer to travel on high quality airlines during transcontinental flights as I have more legroom and generally better service than many of the low-cost airlines.
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@zhuhuifen46 (3486)
• China
14 Aug 09
Budget airline could save a bit money, but passengers must be ready to take physical inconvenience, say, the leg space, and the over-limited lugguage space. Besides, the schedule available are usually midnight ones. Therefore, I would rather take ordinary airlines, but maybe on an early booking, so as to enjoy better price.
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@aseretdd (13712)
• Philippines
14 Aug 09
Right now... i can only afford budget airlines... because high quality ones cost too much... like i booked a flight for next year to Kota Kinabalu Malaysia for a measly 2,500 pesos... that is roughly $55 and that is already two round trip tickets... i won't be able to travel if budget airlines don't exist...
@chi2nasrin (1103)
• Malaysia
26 Aug 09
I opt for budget airline for domestic flight because the price is very cheap compared to the high quality one. The difference is not much, just that you have to buy the food from the airline if you want to eat while with the high quality airline it is free (they have included the food price in the fare I think). Budget airline also tends to delay their flight and only inform their passengers less than one hour before the exact take off time. Other than that, everything is almost the same. The best and beautiful airport I have been to was the Hong Kong airport. They have so many sculptures and art that was displayed. It was so fascinating.
26 Aug 09
NO, i have not been on a budget airline and i found the high quality airline not so great, so i wonder how i feel about travelling on budget airlines.like you said, i also have problem with leg space,come on, aero plane must have come up with a plan, e.g not everyone get on the plane are tall, so why don't they have a section for tall people with more leg room and small people do not need mush leg room, right.
@skysuccess (8882)
• Singapore
15 Aug 09
maximax8, First of all, I think you will agree with me that Budget airlines are also high quality airline too. I just cannot help but add this here. In my experience, I have traveled extensively with both the Full Cost and Budget airlines. And, I must say the experiences between the both of them are really worlds apart. On a full cost carrier, I have traveled from the top classes right down to economy and I am sure you will find them quite enjoyable when you are doing long haul flights. Full cost carriers like Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways, British Airways, Emirates and some others that I had traveled on have commendable First and Business class seats and services. The experiences were exceptional as well, but I will agree that it will be a pain for one's pockets considering the prices. This will be evidently absent in low cost carriers like Air Asia, Southwest Airlines, Tiger Air, Ryan Air and etc., for they only have one class seating available. Also, you cannot do advance seat assignment for your favorite seat or preference, as they are on a first come first serve basis. On a barely full flight, I think you will be lucky enough, but when the flight is full, you will just have to be prepared for disappointments. You may just have to make do with what you got. On a full cost carrier, I find inflight entertainments does help to break monotony, inflight meals, though can be somewhat individual does let our taste palates enter another side of gourmets and live to tell another soul of our latest gastronomical experiences. If I may further add, that on business class and above, we can always order individual preferred menus like Chinese Chicken Rice, Medium rare Ribeye steaks and etc.. Now, as for the budget airlines, the meals will have to be purchased or you will have to amuse yourself with light refreshments or own takeaways and some bare inflight reading materials starting with the aircraft safety manual. So, in a sense, the term no frills airlines is really quite appropriate and true here. In my opinion, I have a slight preference for full cost carriers and it is really for reasons beyond the class of travel or inflight menus or entertainments. On a low cost airlines, I can go with the reasoning that class of travel, inflight movies, food are "can do withouts" but I cannot agree with their lack of available back up support when their flights are technically down. Once these breakdowns happens, all of us will be on our own as these airlines do not have another partner or alliance network to allow their customers to fly on alternative airline (pool or partner) to our intended destination. I can tell you the experience here is just both excruciatingly frustrating. You will be totally lost, I can assure you that there will be some horrendous waiting time and endless unresponsive ground staff service. This is because, there will be no other airline that will take these low cost carrier due to no prearrangement. Once these breakdowns occur, everything will be on a wait and see or some act of God to revive. On a full cost carrier, because of their extensive networks with alliance partner airlines and prearranged air pacts with other carriers and hotels. Breakdown delayed passengers can be offered to fly with another alternative to the destination without having to pay any fare differences. Like a flight from Singapore to Sydney on British Airways is inevitably delayed or canceled but because Qantas Airways is their partner airline, we can always walk over to their counter and subjected to seat availability fly to Sydney on Qantas instead of British Airways. If in a worst scenario, we will be checked into a hotel for a night's rest and fly out after the plane is being repaired or replaced. Now, you just won't find this happening in a low cost carrier. Then, there is the frequent flyer membership issue, low cost airlines do not really bother to make a rapport with their loyal customers and I can understand their reasons too. They just cannot be seen to be "impartial" or show preferential treatment. So, we cannot find loyalty from their customers where everything is seemingly price motivated. I do not know for some of you, but I find these frequent flyer membership a bonus for the airline to treat me as an individual than another number in their statistics. The upkeep of my personal data like name, preferred seats and meals are just so important, where I do not have to repeat them when making reservations. Most of all, I can earn credits for my next free or class upgrade ride. Also, if you are of a high status member, we always get a lot of perks traveling, like automatic upgrade to the next higher class when our families or just us traveling. This is really something I would swear by, imagine your family and/or you are traveling on economy and due to your membership status, the family and you gets a business class upgrade upon check in. Again all these, will not be found in low cost carriers. In my opinion, I feel that low cost carriers are just more suitable for holiday makers than commercial business travelers. In the commercial world, timing is of the essence and any business traveler will tell you that they just cannot afford to be extensively and vaguely delayed. Also, low cost carriers should be restricted to short haul regional routes which are 5-6 hours maximum duration. No disrespect, but I just feel that anything beyond flying 6 hours in spartan conditions is just being unhealthy. The seats are not comfortable and much less suited for long journeys. For it is a known fact that airlines are cramming the spaces to get in more seats. So, at the end of the day passengers like us will be suffering in those crammed seats and cabins. Try and picture flying 18-22 hours in these cabins. Also, I am also wondering how much will you be spending on purchasing your meals in the flight. So, anything beyond 6 hours of flying for me will really have to be full cost. As far as airports are concerned, other than my own country's airport, I have enjoyed my experiences with Dubai, Gatwick and Hong Kong where it is spacious and good mix of shopping and dinning.
@2timothy (794)
• Philippines
16 Aug 09
Let me share an experience, we hosted a group of over 10 who were booked to go home on a budget airline. The flight was cancelled by a storm. Everyone was on their own. Since the flight was full, every passenger tried to book for the next available flight, by the time the group was able to book, the available seats were 5 days after. By that time, after all the shopping and dining, everyone was short of cash. How can they still afford to stay for another 5 days and a few still had to report to work the next day. Upon inquiry, the airline informed them that management will have an answer 7 hours after. Upon second and third inquiry, there was still no word from them by the 9th hour. No calls from them either. Everyone was on their own. Only while inquiring again on the 10th hour were they informed that there will be a special arranged flight another 7 hours after.
• Singapore
16 Aug 09
2timothy, Well, as I have shared earlier, budget airlines are good but they are not perfect. Sadly, they do not realize this and they are ever taking in more routes and longer hauls as well. They are already operating at bare minimum and adding these routes and frequencies though can be appealing to the consumers and their board of directors. They forget that they are thining their very own resources for backup and emergencies. Your group were lucky with the 7th hour alternative. But, there have been just too many appalling incidents where passengers just do not have any replies 15 hours onwards to for a number of days. Just wondering here, what your group or you would had done if the latter 5 days delay had to be adhered. So, as you can see, I just do not fancy their backup plans and service support. Delays nowadays are just inevitable for safety reasons or whatever, at the end of the day travelers' plans will be affected one way or another. Even a leisure traveler will have to play along with his/her specified allowed time of leave from work and could be nerve racking when these delays can turn into a nightmare for them to loose their jobs. Now considering this, what more for a commercial business traveler? In a full cost airline operation, we can be assured that as long as any alternative is available, the alternatives will be more readily available for the travelers. There was once, where a direct flight from New York (Kennedy) to London was delayed and the next available was leaving from Newark airport, the staff without any hesitation put me on a limo and rush there for my flight. I am not boasting here, but merely presenting the fact that this would not be possible for a low cost airline. I feel that low cost carriers are just more suitable for the extreme leisure travelers. If you want anything else, than you will have to have more flexibility with time and at the same time budget for some horrendous delays or shortcomings. Hope you have a better flight experience the next time round.
@ElicBxn (60083)
• United States
14 Aug 09
I think it rather depends on the airline - now, Southwest in the U.S. is a "budget" and its had its share of problems - the hole in the cabin being a recent one. Personally I have flown on them and would again. I've also flown on small airlines that still use prop planes and would also fly on them because they are often the only ones going where I wanted to go at the time. One was a prop plane into Norfork VA to go to Williamsburg and another was into the Durango CO airport. However, having said that, if I were to fly overseas again, I would still want to take a major airline - tho Peoples (defunct budget airline) had a great safety record, just very crowded flights. My last flight to London was on a major carrier, but very crowded, I took some meds that I had for something else, but would make me sleep so I could sleep in the plane - and for once I did! On the way back, the roomie and I shared 3 seats, and we were so sick that we slept on the way back too!
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@ElicBxn (60083)
• United States
14 Aug 09
I should add that Denver's airport is very attractive but the nicest people I've met are in the London Gatwick (sp) airport.
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