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The Hidden Fees to “Low Cost” European Airlines

Okay so we’ve all been fooled by the ads of many European airlines advertising flights for just €19.  Yes if booked in time this will be the base fare you will receive, but it does not factor in all the hidden fees that these “low cost” airlines charge you for.  Believe me they add up and by the time you’re ready to pay, at least another €25 is added to that low fare.

The main place where these airlines screw you is with your baggage.  Most airlines allow one carry on with the dimensions of 55cmX40cmX20cm, or for those of you that are metric illiterate, 21.7inX15.7inX7.8in.  Many airlines post a weight maximum, but not once was my carry on weighed when checking in.  So just be aware of this potential issue and ladies maybe scope out a young man to check you in. 😉 Below is a chart which breaks down some of the major European airlines and what their policies are for baggage.

AIRLINE CHECKED BAGGAGE AKA “HOLD BAGGAGE” BAGGAGE WEIGHT ALLOWANCE ADDITIONAL WEIGHT CARRY ON WEIGHT
Air Berlin 1st Free 20kg = 44 lbs Can’t be over 32 kg 6 kg = 12 lbs or

8 kg = 17 lbs with laptop

Air One 1st Free 20kg = 44 lbs €10 Per kg = 2.2 lbs 5 kg = 11 lbs
Belle Air 1st Free 15kg = 33 lbs €5 Per kg = 10 lbs 10 kg = 22 lbs
Easy Jet €11 20kg = 44 lbs €12 Per kg = 24 lbs No Restrictions
Meridiana 1st Free 20kg = 44 lbs €9 Per kg = 2.2 lbs 8 kg = 16 lbs
Ryan Air €10 15kg = 33 lbs €15 per kg = 2.2 lbs 10 kg = 22 lbs
Sky Europe €12 18kg = 36 lbs €15 per kg = 2.2 lbs No Restrictions
ThomsonFly €10 20kg = 44 lbs Call airline for fees 5 kg = 11 lbs
Transavia 1st Free 20kg = 44 lbs €9 Per kg = 2.2 lbs 5 kg = 11 lbs
Vueling €10 23kg = 50 lbs €10 Per kg = 2.2 lbs 10 kg = 22 lbs

Another area where they pull a fast one on you is when you select your payment type.  Most companies charge you about €5 to use a credit card.  The only way you can avoid this is if you have a MastroCard, which is like a Euro debit card.

One more fee that they get you on is charging you to choose your seat.  It’s usually only a couple Euro and is sometimes worth the investment.  I usually do just for the insurance that if I’m super hungover, which I usually am after I “go big” that last night in town, I don’t have to end up in a middle seat between a couple of fatties. If you don’t pay to reserve a seat you are usually assigned one when checking in at the airport.  EasyJet, or as most call it, SleazyJet, never assigns seats. Instead you get to line up before boarding and then are herded onto the plane like cattle.  Not exactly ideal, but you do what you gotta do while saving those pennies.

TIP: Make sure before you check out that you “uncheck” the Insurance box.  This is another added cost that you don’t need and it really doesn’t cover anything.  When traveling abroad try and have travel insurance from home.  I’ve used TravelGuard in the past and they’re great and reasonably priced.

One more thing I just remembered is to check and make sure what airports these airlines are flying into.  A lot of times, especially with RyanAir, they fly into small airports that are way outside of town.  You then have another added cost of getting into the city.

Two of my favorite websites to help you find cheap airfares throughout Europe are FlyCheapo and AirNinja.  Both allow you to search your desired route and list what airlines do it cheapest.  Also if you don’t know where you’re headed, FlyCheapo has a destination guide that lists what cities you can fly to cheaply from where you’re at.

Hope you all found this post useful. I know I wish I had all this information right in front of me when making reservations and packing my bags in the past.

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