Sunday Savings Series: No Frills Airlines

I fly Frontier a lot 

One of the nice things about living in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world is that there are a lot of flights in and out of the area. Since we have several major airlines here, it’s not all that difficult to find an affordable flight. Orlando International Airport is serviced by both Frontier and Spirit Airlines, which are considered discount or no frills airlines. At Orlando Sanford International Airport you’ll find Allegiant Airlines. I’ve never flown Allegiant, so I can’t really tell you all that much about them. Remember if flying Allegiant that Disney’s Magical Express does not go to the airport in Sanford.

I have flown both Spirit and Frontier. In fact, I’ve flown Frontier a lot. I have never had a bad experience on either airline. I’ve had the occasional late flight, but that could happen with any airline.

I’ll give you one bit of advice for before you even start looking at flights. If you are considering flying on a discount airline, sign up for their email list. They’ll send you deals several times a week, and sometimes they will have savings codes. I have saved quite a bit of money because I found a code in an email. If the email proclaims “flights from $35” or something similar, don’t expect that to be your price. You should be able to find a good price, but the lowest prices in the emails are usually for only a couple of flights across the board.

Remember that when you book a flight on a no frills airline, you will have to pay for all of the extras. That includes a carry on bag and your pick your own seat assignment. You can bring one bag that will fit under the seat without having to pay. Check the airline’s website for dimensions. I’ve gotten pretty good at stuffing a backpack with necessities and then shoving that under the seat. If my family and I are traveling together we might purchase one checked bag (checked is cheaper than carry on) and then we’ll put the stuff that won’t fit in our small bags in there. Make sure you check the weight limits for the checked bag, because if you go one pound over they will charge you extra. Also, don’t over pack. If you show up at the airport without having paid for a bag and the one you have is too big, you will pay a lot more at the gate.

If you don’t pick a seat ahead of time, you’ll be assigned one when you check in. I’m always nervous that I’ll get stuck in the middle between two strangers. When I flew on Frontier last month that did happen, but the man in the window seat was extremely nice and it turned out that we had a lot in common. We talked the whole way.

I have heard of families getting split up on discount airlines because they did not buy the seats ahead of time. I haven’t seen it actually happen, but when the three of us are traveling together I’ll pay the extra and buy the seats. I don’t want to take the chance.

Food and beverages are extra, although they will give you a cup of ice if you ask. Just know that ahead of time, and maybe bring a snack if you think that you might get hungry.

The seats on the no frills airlines are close together, but I think that’s true on any airlines these days. I’m tall and my height is in my legs, and I can ride on Spirit or Frontier without too much of a problem.

There’s no WiFi, no movies, and no music on the no frills airlines. So I’ll bring an MP3 player or watch Star Wars on my tablet. Problem solved.

If you’re looking to save money, a no frills airline could be the way to go. The way I see it, I’d rather spend a couple of hours on a cheap flight and save the money, than pay for a more expensive flight and be broke on my trip.