Why Is Flying So Expensive, & Then How Are Budget Airlines So Cheap?

I suppose if you’re into the points & miles game, flights can be expensive, but if you’re paying with cash then they can be REALLY expensive. Were they always this much? Well, yes. And sometimes no. Depending. It’s complicated.

And if you think about it, it’s just bizarre that a major airline, like Delta, American and United can charge $300 or $400 for a one-way flight across the country, while an airline like Frontier can have sales and heck, I could potentially fly to California from here in Orlando for $64 (or even $59 if I was a member of their Discount Den).

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So why are the “big guys” so expensive and how do the budget airlines manage to stay so cheap? Again, it’s complicated. But these might explain it:

Why Flying Is So Expensive

“Flying is expensive, really expensive, but only kinda, and it’s only partially the airlines’ fault.”

How Budget Airlines Work

“Flying is an expensive endeavor, but somehow certain budget airline can sell tickets for less than 10 euros (roughly $11 and change). This is how they work.”

I know for us, we choose what airline we’ll use based on a variety of factors. Price, of course, comes into play. How many frequent flyer miles we have and is it “worth it” to use them for that flight (we don’t have a bazillion miles saved up). We’ll also consider how long the flight is, if there’s a stopover or not, and how able we are to switch our travel day(s) for a better price and how “worth it” to us it is to do that.

So for us too, it’s complicated. I’m just glad that we have different options nowadays. That wasn’t always the case.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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