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What to Expect on Board a Budget Airline Flight

by PARCHEGGIO viale flight tickets (2017-11-23)

Coin-operated toilets? Wooden benches instead of seats? Loading your own checked luggage into the cargo hold? There have been a lot of tall tales about radical cost-cutting measures on the budget airlines, but so far the differences between them and the major airlines fall into a pretty short list:


The seat pitch (that's the distance between the front of one seat and the front of the seat behind it) on the major airlines ranges between 30 and 34 inches - with North American and European airlines typically at the tight end of that range, and Asian and Middle Eastern airlines on the more generous end. For comparison, budget airlines run the full gamut, from AirAsia and easyJet, with a 29" seat pitch that's tighter than even the stingiest major airlines, to Canada's WestJet which provides up to 35" of spacious luxury. airasia


Here's one area where the major airlines have been playing catch-up with the budget carriers; since the post-9/11 travel lull, many European and North American airlines have stopped serving food on domestic/regional flights. They're pretty late to the party: Decades ago, one of the first ways the discount carriers saved money was by getting rid of the meal service. Not only does it cost a lot to provide the food, but all those kitchens take up space that could be used for more seats.

Of course, now that budget airlines are flying longer and longer routes, simply starving the passengers is not an option. Some have begun serving free snacks, but most of the cheap long-distance carriers are selling meals on board. How much you'll pay - and how edible the food is - depends on which airline you fly. One of the better deals is AirAsia, where you can eat for as little as US$3 and the food actually isn't terrible.