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How Discount Airlines Save Money

By Sintilia Miecevole

In the last twenty years, discount airlines have single-handedly changed the way the airline industry functions. With a focus on getting customers to their desired destinations without the frills of regular airline travel, discount airlines can charge lower prices and still meet strict safety codes. Airlines like JetBlue and Southwest offer customers extremely low rates and still service a wide variety of popular domestic destinations.

In the past, discount airlines saved money by skimping on the unneeded details. For instance, instead of receiving a full dinner, you might just get a drink and a small bag of peanuts. Rather than offering movies on long flights, you would have to find ways to entertain yourself, and legroom was much less of a concern than it was for major airlines. However, these days, discount airlines are investing more in entertainment systems, and they are paying more attention to customer comfort.

This is partly because major airlines are finding that they must lower their rates to compete with discount prices. Because customers can often find the same rates from regular airlines, discount companies are finding that they must keep up with the comfort level. Otherwise, customers will always choose the major airline if they can find a comparable ticket price. By searching online discount ticket retailers like Hotwire and Priceline, customers can often find cheap tickets on both discount and regular airline flights.

If your planned destination is a sunny vacation town, discount airlines are usually still significantly cheaper than traditional companies. Many of the discount airlines focus their flights on destinations with agreeable climates. This gives them the corner on the vacation travel market, and it helps them save money by having to deal less with bad weather and the delays and maintenance costs associated with colder climates.

There are also many discount airlines that specialize in cross-country flights. Many of these companies make the bulk of their profits by flying just a few specific routes. However, because regular airlines do not want to lose the profitable business of cross-country travelers, they have begun to match discount prices, making this sort of travel a win-win situation for the customer.

When you are planning a trip and researching prices, the more flexibility you have in your destinations, the more you can save. Many discount airlines only fly to certain cities, and you can literally save hundreds of dollars by flying into an airport merely an hour away from your final destination. For instance, if you are traveling to Austin, TX, a relatively small airport, you will have to pay a much greater ticket price than you would if you flew a discount airline to San Antonio and drove the hour and a half to Austin.

There are also some discount airlines that work in reverse. They service smaller airports where fees are much less, and they avoid larger airports altogether. It may be worth it to slightly alter your plans and fly into a smaller city and drive to your final destination. Also, the benefits of a hassle-free flight into a small airport are much greater than just getting a lower rate. By choosing a smaller airport, you can avoid the stress of parking and finding your way around, and you can get a great ticket price to boot!

No matter where you are going, discount airlines can almost always save you money. Be sure to comparison shop before booking your next flight, and you may find that you can save hundreds of dollars by simply checking a few different airlines and a few different airports. With a little research, you can spend less on getting to your destination and arrive with more cash to enjoy yourself with once you are there.

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