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Article: 7 handy tips to read before flying on a budget airline

Read these 7 handy tips to prevent disappointments before you fly.
Budget airlines offer cheap flights, but they come with a lot of paid services as well.

1. Bring (secretly) your food

Budget airlines offer food on the plane that passengers can buy. 

This is not only for the short-haul flights. 
This includes longer flights.

To my surprise, my last Jetstar flight of 9 hours had no food and drinks for free.

There are two ways to buy food.

You can buy it directly during the flight. 

Notice that cash payments might not always be accepted. 

Some airlines accept only payments by cards for flight purchases.

This was the case with a Jetstar flight I flew in September 2019.

To be safe than sorry, check this with your airline.

The second way is by pre-ordering it through booking.
Then you pay by credit card or any other online payment system.

Want to bring your food?
Be aware that not all airlines allow you to do this.

Tuna pocket sandwich, convenient to bring along

Some of them clearly state to not bring your food and drinks.

Like NokScoot:

“We do not allow consumption of outside food though we recommend guests who have special dietary needs to bring their food. 

However, for safety reasons hot drinks and liquids are not permitted. 

We have great selections on offer from our onboard menu, including vegetarian and halal meals.”

Not everyone knows this.

I had a passenger next to me requesting for a cup of coffee.
Then he gave it back with apologies after knowing it was not free.

2. Bring some comfy stuff with you

I would highly recommend bringing some comfy stuff with you on a long-haul flight.

Bring your comfy items with you

Budget airlines do not come with anything to cover yourself. 
No cushion, no blanket, and no socks.

These extras can be ordered during the booking of the flight.

Up high in the sky temperatures drop below the zero.

It is recommended to bring something warm.

I like to bring an inflatable cushion.
And I like to wear long sleeves and/or a jacket.

3. No inflight entertainment

Short flights economy class do not have inflight entertainment.

For most airlines, long-haul flights come with inflight entertainment, o.a. to watch movies.

On the budget airlines, inflight entertainment is not available for free.

Some of these airlines, like Jetstar, have inflight entertainment screens. 
You pre-order the inflight entertainment with your booking.

Paid inflight entertainment of Jetstar

At Jetstar, I pre-ordered it with my booking.

Everyone has a screen and watching the flight map is free.
Only for those who had booked inflight entertainment will have this feature enabled.

Be prepared to pay a little extra for inflight entertainment. 

Especially to entertain kids, inflight entertainment is useful.

Or bring your movies and/or books with you.

Jetstar was notorious for a huge number of movies suitable for kids.

4. Have a power bank or an extra battery with you

There were no free to use USB chargers on the budget airlines.

Even on the long-haul flights.

It is useful to bring an extra battery for your laptop in case you need it

On Nokscoot USB chargers are available for seats with extra leg space.
These special seats need to be pre-ordered with the booking. 

It is recommendable to have a fully charged power bank with you.

For laptop users, an extra battery can be convenient.
Although this adds significantly to the weight of your luggage.

5. No adjustment of the chair

Be aware that budget airlines’ chairs cannot be modified.

Even on the longer flights.

There is no button to press to lean the chair backward. 

This can be quite exhausting for the body traveling hours and hours.

Sometimes, the chair is so upright, that a neck pillow becomes an annoyance.
It even further limits the space of movement.

The angle of the chair is depending on the airline interior design.

I remembered flying from Melbourne to Bangkok in a very upright chair (Jetstar).

From Bangkok to Tokyo, the chair was less upright (Nokscoot).
This was much more comfortable.

6. Travel light or order more luggage weight

Budget airlines limit carry-on weight.

It is very generous for a budget airline to allow 10 kg of weight (22 lbs) for a carry-on.

In my experience, the budget airline Scoot allows 10 kg of carry-on weight.

Nokscoot and Jetstar have only 7kg (15.4 lbs) for carry-on.

They do allow you to pay for an extra 3kg (6.6 lbs) to come to 10 kg (22 lbs) total.

Jetstar top-up carry-on to add 3kg extra

An empty suitcase can already weight 2kg (4.4 lbs) or more.

Another 2-3kg or more for our electronic devices like a laptop, tablet, camera, etc.
This easily reaches the limit of 7kg.

Traveling to a warm country can be easier to keep the weight down.
To a winter country, keeping below the 7kg limit can be quite challenging.

7. Prepare to sit by yourself

Flying over snowy mountains

When two people book at the same time, meaning the selection of 2 people in one booking.

We have the assumption and expectation we will automatically be assigned to sit together.

We expect that booking individually, of course, requires additional payment to choose chairs next to each other.

However, according to some people’s stories, they have ended up sitting by themselves while booking together.

I am not sure if all budget airlines are like this or that some of them have this restriction.

Either you pay extra to sit together or be satisfied to sit a few hours separately.


Is it really worthy to fly with a budget airline?

The answer depends.

For people flying to visit a friend or their partner for the weekend only, carry-on suffice.
For people on business trips for two days, applies the same.

For more days, longer hours of a flight, I would not really choose for budget airlines.

All the extra costs that give you the expected comfort level, adds up quickly.

Then the question is, is it really that cheap after all?
Maybe the difference is not that huge with other non-budget airlines.

This is something to keep in mind while you book your flight with a budget airline. 🙂

Have a safe trip!



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