Anyone who has ever wanted to buy a plane ticket had heard about low cost airlines. They have revolutionized short distance connection market (Europe). Never before flying to distant corners of Europe was as easy and cheap as it is now. And it seems that it won’t be cheaper. The question, i show low cost airlines generate profits? The answer is simple – additional cost. Do you want take bigger, checked baggage, to choose seats during check-in, you want to go first on board – pays! It isn’t secret that comfort and standard of service also differs between normal operator and the low cost airline. How many times you’ve been waiting two or three hours because the plane was delayed ?! Additionally cheap airlines operate mainly from smaller, more distant from large cities airports. Just to mention Ryanair which departures from Modlin to which journey from Warsaw takes about an hour and costs you often more than i.e. ticket to London.
Well, what if we decide to travel by low-cost airline with a child? In preparation for our first trip we looked through various forums to find answers to our questions. Then we decided to create a short summary of what we have found out.
We decided to ask directly low cost airlines in Europe about travelling policy families with children. We hope that you find in this article useful information. We questioned and searched web pages carriers such as Ryanair, Wizzair, Norwegian, easyJet, Germanwings and WOW.
There is no general provision prohibiting a pregnant woman travelling by airplane to a specific week of pregnancy. Each airline regulated this period by themselves. Frequently airlines forbid women to get on board by 4-5 weeks before the due date, exception is Norwegian, which by 4 weeks require only a medical certificate, and forbid by 2 weeks before due date. Ryanair doesn’t let you get on board between 28 and 36 weeks of pregnancy without fulfillment of additional form.
None of low-cost airlines do not have to offer (even paid) additional facilities for pregnant women.
Ticket for a infant/child
Did you find great promotional ticket price and … it turns out that the ticket for the child, despite the fact that your kid is less than two years old, not only isn’t free but it cost more than a regular ticket for an adult. This is because all the cheap airlines have a fixed fee for child up to two years old. Mostly The fee couldn’t be officially avoided. This is incomprehensible policy. After all, a child does sit on the lap of an adult, no additional crew attendance is required also no other privileges for babies are granted.
We only found out that Ryanair has an option to bypass this fee for child up to 2 years old. During booking tickets select all tickets as for an adult. For the child ticket in field name type: INFANT and surname: EXTRA SEAT and buy it in a promotional price. Then call the call center, or write on chat request to change the personal data to correct one. As far as we know we infant get separate seat. Unfortunately won’t be able to sit on it without a proper car seat adapted to travel by airplane.
If your child is more than two years old you have to purchase the regular ticket, which in some cases is cheaper than for infant. Only Norwegian provides 25% discount off the regular price.
Low cost are cheap because they make profits on an additional charges. Ticket price increases sometimes three or four times when we need to register our luggage or take on board larger luggage tha is allowed. Is it therefore a matter of baggage for a child?
Let’s start with checked baggage. Ryanair, Norwegian and easyJet allow you to take two pieces of checked baggage stroller, car seat or baby sling. In addition. Ryanair doesn’t charge you for travel cot, and easyJet doesn’t also apply for fee for a baby back carrier. On the other hand WOW, Wizzair and Germanwings let you take one piece of luggage (stroller or baby carrier/car seat). In all of reviewed airlines it does not matter whether stroller is two or one parts. The airlines on their websites directly mention stuff that you can take with you for free. If there is no mention thing which you consider to take that means they charge you an additional fee.
When it comes to carry-on baggage is clear that Wizzair diverge, unfortunately „in minus” on this filed. In this airline according to official information children up to two years old are not entitled to take carry-on baggage. Part of the carriers eg. Ryanair and Norwegian also does not provide in their rules a baggage for a child (<2 years), but is able for parents to take additional 5kg of baggage to their luggage. Obviously this is not ideal, because the dimensions of baggage can not exceed a certain size. Only WOW, Germanwings and easyJet provide a separate hand baggage for a child.
Children older than 2 years are entitled to take baggage on the same basis as an adult. In this case easyJet and WOW allow one piece of luggage,. Ryanair allow to take on board two hand bagages, each 10 kg, the second one should be smaller, in terms of size.
At the airport
When buying tickets most parents care about sitting next to each other on board, so they could take care of child together. This is especially important when we travelling with infant. All of the described herein airlines, but also mostly normal carriers during online check-in demand payment for the possibility of choosing seats.
However, the information obtained (excluding Wizzair) all airlines ensure that they do not intend to separate families but they are not able to guarantee seats next to each other for both parents. This means if you want to be sure you have to pay extra. From ours experience, we know that even if the line does not take care of it (in our case Iberia did not), then you can always smile to the passenger sitting next to your partner asking polite to exchange places to seat.
No one beside easyJet does included in their policy early boarding for families with children. In many cases, remember that boarding in first stage is to the bus which take you to the plane on the airfield (lower operating costs for the airline). Then the time of boarding into the bus does not matter :-).
Low cost airlines clearly differ in traveling policy for families. On one end of the scale we have easyJet, which on its website has a special section designed for traveling families, where basically we can find all the information we need – even policy “of breastfeeding on board”. There is also the excellent e-mail contact with them as well as with WOW and Norwegian. Good solution for contact with Ryanair is a multilingual chat. It allows you to get fast the answers to you questions. From the opposite site of the scale are Wizzair and Germanwings. No e-mail contact, the residual information on the website and call center price (more than 1€/ min for Wizzair).
In our little summary lacked several low-cost airlines, but there is no way to describe them all. Additionally, it is another factor not included. Experience of traveling with children by low cost airlines. How many users are as many opinions on this subject, and what are your experience?