5 Ways to Survive Low-Cost Flights

Booked some EasyJet? Ready to go on Wizz? Rocking it with Ryanair? Read these tips to prepare for your trip with a low-cost carrier! | Study Abroad and BeyondSo you’re flying on a low-cost carrier, huh?  Congratulations on scoring cheap tickets!

You’re probably elated about that $25 roundtrip ticket to someplace incredible.  To be honest, I’m happy for you.

I love the prices of cheap flights.

However, the experience itself of actually being on these flights can be a little… let’s say taxing.

I’ve now flown at least five different low-cost carriers, and I learn a little more each time.

Here are the ways that I don’t let Ryanair kill my soul survive cheap flights.

Read the fine print before you leave

Our friendly low-cost carriers charge for pretty much anything.  Make sure to check in advance the:

  • Number of bags allowed
  • Weight of bags
  • Dimensions of bags
  • Costs for luggage outside of the allowance
  • Included amenities (if any – again, thanks Norwegian – free WiFi!)
  • Excluded amenities (liiiike… water.  If you can, grab it in the terminal.  Although COPA didn’t allow me to bring it to the gate…)
Bring a spare bag

If you are limited to one cabin bag, make sure you plan to have your valuables under the seat in front of you.  You don’t want someone walking off with your bag (let’s say accidentally).

I recommend packing a reusable shopping bag for this purpose.  A purse works too.

After successfully getting your one bag past the check-in desk, rearrange your stuff.

Better yet, pack this in advance and have it at the top of your bag to grab during boarding.

A little side-eye from the crew is worth securing your important documents!


Silence really is golden.

Before takeoff, I pop those puppies in and can barely hear the screaming children and adults around me.

But what about safety, you say?

Earplugs only dull the noises around you.  It’s still possible to hear every announcement.  In fact, I can still hear the pilot right now on Air Arabia.

If there is an emergency, you will still hear what you need to hear.

Consider ear plugs to have a slightly quieter experience.

(I know that having things in your ears is bad, but me losing patience is probably bad too.  I’ll take my chances.)

Consider purchasing “Priority” anything

My last Ryanair flight allowed priority passengers to board first as well as have 2 (!!) cabin bags.

All for $7 more.

I don’t usually spring for priority, but $7 was a price I could stomach.

That would have been 3 espressos in Italy.  Or 1.5 meals in Marrakech.  Instead, it was my ticket to happiness.

Watching other passengers have meltdowns solidified my decision-making.

How to Survive Cheap Flights | Study Abroad and Beyond

I managed to get comfortable earlier than my fellow passengers on a very full flight for only $7. #winning.

Which brings me to…

Find a way to get comfortable… and determine your price for comfort

Similar to the $7 for priority, for the right price, I will pay to reserve a seat on the plane.

Some carriers allowed me to reserve a seat without any fees (thanks, Norwegian!).  However, most low-cost carriers price their seats based on desirability.

If I need to sleep on a flight, anything under $10 is in my budget for a window seat.  I’ve paid as little as $3 and as much as $10 to reserve a seat.

On flights with seats that don’t recline (yep, looking at you Ryanair), this has proved to be essential.

That’s where I’m most comfortable, and it’s worth the price.

Load up on entertainment

To entertain myself on low-cost carriers for long-haul flights (say that 5 times fast), I download as many things to entertain myself in advance as possible.

The past few flights have been a combination of podcasts (in exchange for earplugs) and e-books from the library.

They have successfully entertained me across the Atlantic in the absence of in-flight entertainment.

I almost didn’t miss movies… almost.

But then I thought of the $300 in savings, and it was a fair exchange.

Final thoughts

Listen, I’m not saying flying with low-cost carriers will be a picnic.  But recently, the climate on these carriers has improved (slightly) as competition has increased.

The best way to survive these flights?  Keep breathing.

Eventually, the flight will be over.  The couple next to you will eventually stop making out.  The baby will stop screaming.  And the kid behind you will stop kicking your seat.

No matter what, the money you saved will allow you to see so many more places!

Also, there is the added bonus of adding some hilariously harrowing tales of survival from those flights.

It’s a win-win!

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