7 strange things we discovered about budget airlines

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A festive Germanwings plane. Photo by Andrei Dimofte.

At EuroCheapo, our updated budget flights section is about to take off. For the past two weeks we’ve been reading the fine print on the baggage, seating and check-in policies for each airline and we’ve seen it all. But beyond the colorful interactive route maps and mouthwateringly cheap deals, we found some information that was really a bit silly.

Here’s a list of the seven craziest things we found out about budget airlines’ during our research:

7. Blue1: Hello cello!

The only musical instrument allowed in the cabin on a Blue1 flight is a cello.  According to the airline’s baggage policy, you must book an extra seat and pay for your cello at the time of the reservation. Guess you can have a flying circus, but no flying orchestra.

6. Germanwings: Extra! Extra!

Germanwings lets you book the seat next to you as a “private seat” so that you have a more comfortable trip. If you book the neighboring seat at the same time that you book your seat, the price is the same. But if you do it later, then the seat will cost the going rate at the time of purchase. We’ve heard of extra large seats, extra legroom, and extra luggage… but never an extra seat!

5. Iceland Express: Hippoglossus hippoglossus

Iceland Express (2013 note: now defunct) publishes a blog that is full of fascinating reasons to visit Iceland. For example, did you know that the 15-foot Atlantic Halibut lives in Iceland? If that doesn’t have you packing for Reykjavík, we don’t know what will! Seriously though, the blog also offers helpful information for Cheapos about specials, promotions, and activities, such as concerts and film festivals.

4. Aer Lingus: Who let the dogs out?

Aer Lingus seeks to prevent serious damage to their aircraft as a result of dogs becoming loose in aircraft holds. Therefore, the baggage policy states that the following breeds of dogs are not to be carried under any circumstances on any Aer Lingus aircraft:

• Akita
• “Dog” (This breed covers a lot of territory!)
• Argentino
• Fila Brazillero
• Mastiff
• Pit Bull
• Tosa

However, according to the small print, Aer Lingus will be happy to transport your wedding cake, power tools, art easels and hats.

3. Germanwings: Blind Spot

If blind dating works, then why not blind booking? Germanwings offers a deal called “blind booking.” This rather risky form of booking lets you specify a departure airport, a price and a theme (i.e. “party” or “culture”), and the airline will choose your destination. Good luck!

2. Blue Air: VIPs

Blue Air offers priority smart check-in for €15 at the Aurel Vlaicu International Airport in Romania. This includes priority boarding, a private car to take you to the airport and a voucher for coffee and water at the “Snack Attack” airport restaurant. Families with children aged 1-23 months get priority smart check-in for free. Fancy pants alert!

1. Ryanair: Air of disgust

Apparently Ryanair’s customer service is so bad that some irritated passengers decided to launch Cyrnair.com, the website of “the Low-Class Airline.” While we obviously didn’t come across this site in Ryanair’s small print, its outright mockery of the budget carrier powerhouse merits its share of cackles and guffaws, and sheds some light on the challenges of flying for (nearly) free.

Share your favorite small print

Have you come across any unusual restrictions in the small print when booking a flight? Have any weirdo budget flight tales to tell? Share them in our comments section!

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One thought on “7 strange things we discovered about budget airlines”

  1. I think I once went on one of those “blind spot” trips. I booked a flight leaving from Florida and when I stepped onto the plane, I saw that most of the seats were filled with old people wearing Mickey Mouse ears. It looked like the nursing home took the elderly to Disney. Fun times. Great article!


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