The hidden costs of cheap flights

Approx read: 3 mins

How cheap is that cheap flight?

Spending a few bucks might end up saving you money

We’re all looking for a good deal, but sometimes clicking on the cheapest flight can cost you, big time.

Getting to the airport

Your flight takes off or arrives at 2am. Public transport shuts down at midnight. How much is that cab gonna cost you?

Factor in the cost of getting to the airport when public transport options aren’t reliable.

Day layovers

Airports are designed to make you spend money, using psychology. After looking longingly at the gorgeous stuff in the designer window, it’s easy to spend more than you intended on a cheaper alternative at a less-expensive shop nearby. Same goes for the food. Go for the 3-course fancy meal or treat yourself to an €11 wrap?

This isn’t much of an issue with a short layover, but if you’re stuck somewhere for 5 hours, it’s hard not to buy something.

blue The hidden costs of cheap flights Sasha Gayer

Night layovers

Is a quick side-trip worth it? Are you confident you can get back to the airport in time? Is it worth is to go through another security check?

Generally, here’s the answer: No. No. No. If the place is worth it, mine the airport’s info kiosks for next time.

What if your tummy says ‘Breakfast!’ and nothing’s open and the vending machine says ‘€9 Matcha Kit Kat’?

Even in 24-hour cities, airports have limited options that are always expensive. You could even end up all by yourself like that guy in Vegas.

Armed with a phoneload of media and a plethora of free charging points, this could be a great time to catch up on reading or some phrases for your next destination.

If available, consider an in-airport capsule space for a quiet room for long layovers. Amenities can include an international charging dock and workspace, a comfy bed, an en suite shower/toilet. Best of all, this provides privacy, a rare thing when flying.

Everything adds to the cost of your travel price. Do you want to spend that money in an airport or at your destination?

Checked bags

Warning! Every time you switch planes increases the possibility of lost checked luggage.

Not a problem if you swing through gates, essentials strapped to your body, in your pockets, or in a tiny bag.

Other travellers might prefer to bring a change of shoes, gifts, full-size beauty essentials, multiple lewks.

Check airline baggage allowances for every leg of your flight. If not travelling with a toothbrush in your pocket and some undies shoved into your laptop case, look for a rate option that works with your stuff. Read the fine print before you book. Add any luggage costs to your flight budget.

What’s your time worth?

Last year I spent 18 hours travelling (1 hour in a taxi, 2 hours checking in/security, 11 hours in layovers, 4 total hours flying) to save not that much money. Result: I arrived exhausted, wasting the first day of my trip, my travel budget depleted by cab fare and overpriced novelty Kit Kats.

If I’d spent a bit more on my ticket, I would’ve spent less travelling. My savings would’ve added at least lunch at a decent restaurant with my friends, with little prezzies from Berlin for all. Schade!

Kick back and relax: your guide to stress-free airport lounge access!