Last updated: 12:30 PM ET, Wed July 20 2016

How Add-Ons Can Add Up With Budget Airlines

Airlines & Airports | Patrick Clarke | July 20, 2016

How Add-Ons Can Add Up With Budget Airlines

Photo courtesy of Ryanair.

While the purpose of a budget airline is to offer a more affordable means of air travel, a case study recently conducted by passenger rights service provider shows that flying with a budget carrier doesn't always guarantee a cheaper price tag.

By removing basic add-ons like in-flight meals and luggage allowances, points out that many budget airlines can advertise much lower fares than their competition.

But assuming travelers will need those add-ons, they will likely end up paying for them down the road.'s case study examined how much it would cost to fly a family of four from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to either London's Heathrow Airport or Gatwick Airport on August 11 and fly them back to the Big Apple on August 18.

The two adults and two children (ages 2-11) required standard seating, in-flight meals and luggage allowance.

The total price for the family to fly economy class on British Airways with the aforementioned requirements was $4,099.10. 

READ MORE: Resort Fees: Who Benefits, Who Suffers?

Meanwhile, the base fare for the same flights on the same dates for Europe's third-largest budget carrier Norwegian came out to be $3,651.20. However once the necessary add-ons were included — including seat reservation at $45 per person per direction, one checked bag at 44 pounds per person at $45 per direction and in-flight meals at $45 per person per direction — the final price climbed to $4,731.20, or $632.10 more than British Airways.

Even when booking the add-ons together in advance the final price for the Norwegian ticket came in at $4,371.20, or $272.10 above British Airways.

READ MORE: Hidden Charges: 4 Airline Fees You Don't Know About

In addition to cost, encourages travelers to consider the potential for delays and cancellations before booking a flight.

"The majority of complaints we handle on behalf of passengers are directed against low-cost airlines and some of them really do not respect the EU passenger rights legislation and make it overly hard and complex to settle rightful cases," said founder and CEO Eve Buechner in a statement. "Passengers should consider the likelihood of experiencing flight delays on a low-cost carrier, along with the unpleasant reality that budget airlines are often the most difficult in terms of settling compensation claims in a timely manner."

Travelers can click here to view's infographic breaking down costs and how "price deconstructing" can hide the true price of a flight.


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