With reports that Ryanair is to, once again, increase their checked baggage levy, I have to now ask the question – is it really worth the hassle flying a budget airline? How many passengers can really travel with only cabin luggage? And do you really want to be flying aboard an airline where you’re fighting to get past everyone else’s baggage?

It’s rare now to see a day pass without yet another story-from-hell about a budget airline. In recent days, there has been talk on the radio in Australia that the new entrant to the skies here, Tiger Airways, does not allow passengers to consume their own food on-board, forcing them to buy their on-board meals, if they wish to eat. Perhaps not an issue on a short-hop Melbourne to Sydney flight, but on a long flight to Perth, you could be quite hungry if you don’t want to be stuck paying through the nose for their meals.

There has been more trouble with Tiger, with reports of passengers being stranded in Melbourne when Tiger cancelled its Sunday flight to Mackay, telling them they’d have to wait until the following Friday.

Today, there’s a report of budget airline Pacific Blue hunting down its passengers who were last aboard, to remove them from the flight, due to understaffing.

Add to this the fact that many budget airlines use inconvenient airports – for example, in Melbourne, a number of Jetstar flights leave from Avalon Airport, which is even more difficult to get to than Melbourne’s already badly accessible Tullamarine Airport – and in many cases, costs of getting from the airport to your final destination may well exceed what you paid for the flight. Not to mention the time wasted getting there.

I tend to stick to flying with Qantas, in Australia. Yes, it generally costs a bit more, but they still do have good deals advertised on their website – and I can then be reasonably confident that if they cancel my flight, I’ll be booked onto a replacement flight quite quickly.

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