The lowest prices in the airfare bargain basement are typically base fares that include zero complimentary amenities.
Some budget carriers offer select cabin comforts for a fee—like in-flight entertainment, pre-reserved seating, snacks and/or blankets on long hauls.
Some offer nothing at all. No in-flight entertainment. No AC outlets or USB ports to keep your mobile device juiced. No wifi. No free water. Oh, the horror!
In compiling the Budget Airfare 101 guide, I studied and compared the in-flight amenities and cabin comforts of over a dozen budget airlines in the U.S. and beyond.
And let me tell you, they're all over the map!
Before you book a budget flight, take a look at the guide so you can calculate your ASQ (Ability-to-Suffer Quotient) for the airline in question.
Check to see what, if any, in-flight entertainment options are offered. This is especially important when traveling with kids on a long voyage.
Sure, you can watch movies and play games on an iPad or laptop instead, but you’ll also need to know if there’s an electrical or USB charging port for your seat, which is uber rare on budget carriers.
My ASQ is pretty high on short, domestic flights; but rigidly low on international flights. I don’t sleep well on long flights, so I like to be able to read a little, watch a movie, listen to music, read a little more, etc.
A transatlantic flight with nary an in-flight entertainment option or electrical outlet is an instant no-go for me.
Meet the Author
Alyssa Faria is a board games aficionado, former game show writer and avid traveller who has trekked the Andes; cliff dived the Azores; and savored octopus in 8 countries and counting!
You can usually find her in Boston, where she slays tech dragons by day when she’s not busy running marathons, scaling rock walls and indulging her inner foodie.