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’ve done very, very well. Not only are airlines such as Spirit Airlines often the cheapest option, but sometimes a low-cost airline can be the best way to get where you want to go. So whether you actually don’t mind flying low-cost because you just need to get from A to B, or you despise them so much that you’d rather pay more to fly a full-service carrier, there are some ways you can improve your flying experience. We outline six of them, below.
1. Use an Airport Lounge
Believe it or not, lounges are for all — not just those 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. However, 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 (MCO) as an example. The Club at MCO has an outlet in Terminal A (Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Sunwing and Avelo) and Terminal B (Spirit Airlines, Volaris, WestJet, GOL and Sun Country). For a $45 day pass, you get complimentary snacks and beverages, including beer, wine and premium spirits, newspapers, free Wi-Fi and space to work.
The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve card both come 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 a certainly a great alternative to paying for overpriced and often subpar airport food.
2. Pay for Seat Selection
Paying for a seat can be an annoying additional extra cost when flying, especially when flying with a family or in a group. Some full-service carriers now even charge for seat selection. It could make sense to pay for a seat on your low-cost flight rather than being allocated a seat at random, as it will most definitely make your journey more comfortable.
The two main factors to consider are the proximity 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 an extra legroom seat will make a huge difference.
For Spirit Airlines, seat prices vary from $1 to $250. When deciding which seat to pay for, consider the amount that you paid for the ticket originally and whether or not the additional seat cost would add sufficient improvement to your journey.
Keep in mind that if you’re traveling 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.
3. Use Fast Track Airport Security
TSA PreCheck is currently available in more than 200 U.S. airports. TSA recently announced that renewal fees for the popular program are falling from $85 to $70 — but only if completed online. The fee for new enrollments still remains $85.
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