The Hidden Costs of Choosing the Cheapest ‘Flight Only’ Option

There are basically two ways to travel:

  1. Book a package holiday including flights and accommodation
  2. Travel independently by choosing and booking your own flights and accommodation

In the latter case most of us would head for a flight comparison site to get started. With so many flights available on any one day, it can be very difficult to make an informed choice. We are all looking for the best deal, but, as is often the case, what initially appears to be a great deal doesn’t necessarily turn out that way. Before you commit to fly, consider some of the possible extra costs that may be incurred. A recently booked flight from Venice seemed at first glance to be an obvious choice. After a little further investigation, it became evident that choosing a flight that was £10 more expensive actually saved £27 when luggage was added. The reason being that the final choice was an airline whose luggage costs were tiny in comparison.

Extra Costs to Look Out for When Booking a Flight

  • Luggage: Both hand and hold luggage
  • Do you require WiFi on board? Some airlines charge, some do not
  • Cost of booking that preferred seat on the plane: These costs can range from a few pounds up to £30. In some cases, you will be required to book a preferred seat to be able to carry on hand luggage
  • Food and Drink: Most flights within Europe do not include food or drink nowadays and whilst this is usually available free of charge on long haul, it may not be the case with some of the low-cost airlines
  • Whilst it is free to book your flight on-line, you may pay more for booking your flight over the phone
  • It can be tempting to fly from an airport offering a cheaper option on your chosen route but consider the cost of travelling to and from the airport. This rule also applies at your destination airport where costs can be undetermined! Be careful and choose wisely!

How Flight Times Affect Cost

Flight Times are often a big consideration when booking a trip. If you have a really early flight you may decide to book an airport hotel and stay at the airport the previous night. If your flight is late in the day you will arrive at your destination in time for bed! On a 7-night holiday to Europe you have automatically lost a day’s holiday by choosing a later flight. If you are staying in an expensive hotel, the saving made by choosing a cheap flight will pale into insignificance when comparing days away versus hotel cost!

Do your Homework To Get the Best Flight Deal

It is easy to be caught out, especially if you are attempting to book a last-minute flight; the best advice is to take your time. Make notes on availability and then consider the ‘Hidden Extras’. What may appear online as the best price at first glance, may not be the case. It is a good idea to take the booking process to the payment stage to get the final costing, including your chosen extras. It is not unknown for booking fees to be added at the end of the process, so be aware.

Finally, when you’ve selected the ‘buy’ button it is time to decide where to park your car. If you have chosen that early flight you may wish to include a night’s stay at the airport, extending your holiday a little at the same time! To make savings here, book an airport hotel with parking.

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