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Low Cost vs. Full-Service Airlines: What Should You Choose?

What type of airline is best?

Whoever said patience is a virtue had no idea how badly you need a vacation after a stressful start of the year. And, with spring break just around the corner, this is the perfect time to look for a hot spring destination and relax by the pool (or, better yet, the ocean) with a cocktail in hand and your phone nowhere in sight.

But, before you can enjoy your quiet getaway, you need to go through the stress of finding and booking the perfect deal. So, here comes the burning question: should you fly low-cost or full-service?

Let’s analyze both options and find out!

What’s the Difference Between Low-Cost and Full-Service Airlines?

The price isn’t the only thing that sets low-cost airlines apart from full-service ones. Budget airlines usually fly point to point between small, less utilized airports. For example, if you’d book a low-cost flight from Rome to Paris, you would land on the Paris Beauvais Airport, which is about 80 km northwest of Paris instead of Charles de Gaulle.

Another difference is that low-cost carriers don’t offer business or first class since these two options require too much space and resources than the aircraft can provide.

With a full-service airline, on the other hand, not only that you have more options regarding comfort, but the routes they offer are more extensive than those of budget carriers.

Low-Cost Airlines: Advantages and Disadvantages

Here’s what to expect when flying with a low-cost carrier.


Price: As mentioned above, the price is one of the biggest advantages of choosing a budget airline over a full-service one. That way, you can save money to spend on other things, such as accommodation, food, safari excursions, and other small luxuries.

Flexibility: Most low-cost airlines fly to multiple destinations and at a greater frequency than full-service ones. That allows you to fly to one city, spend a few days there and then fly to another one and book a return flight from there.


Price: It might seem surprising, but the price can be both an advantage and disadvantage when flying with low-cost carriers. Sure, you can book a flight for as low as $20, but there are numerous hidden fees that you might end up paying for if you are not careful. For example, forgetting to print your ticket can result in a hefty fee. Exceeding the allowed baggage weight limit can also lead to you paying more than the initial price.

Unpredictability: Another thing that can turn flying low-cost into a hassle is their high rate of flight delays and cancellations. This annoyance can affect your entire trip, from the hotel reservations to tour itineraries. If you decide to book a low-cost carrier, you must be mentally prepared to face a lot of issues.

Full-Service Airline: Advantages and Disadvantages

Here are some of the cons and pros of choosing a full-service airline:


Comfort: If you care about your comfort than a full-service airline is a right choice for you. Not only that they offer bigger leg and seating space than low-cost carriers, but the material of the seats is also softer and more comfortable. Not to mention, since the aircraft is larger than low-cost airplanes, the possibility of turbulence is significantly reduced. However, low-cost airlines are also catching up, and are now focusing on improving passengers’ experience onboard.


They Are Less Flexible: Since a full-service aircraft is larger than low-cost ones and require more maintenance, the frequency of flights is significantly reduced. That means that you usually have to plan your trip around their dates and times if you want to catch a great deal.

What Should You Choose

As you can see, both low-cost airlines and full-service ones have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Your choice will depend on the country or city you want to fly to, your budget or preferences. But whatever one you choose be sure to know your rights as an air passenger and claim compensation for flight delays in the EU.

In the end, budget airlines are usually an excellent option for traveling short distances. Sure, you must rule out comfort and other perks, but you’ll have more money to splurge during your vacation.

Filed under: Travel Guide

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