Updated: Sep 8, 2018
Here are some ways U.S. Low-Cost Carriers (LCC) and Ultra Low-Cost Carriers (ULCC) are able to keep their prices low: Fuel hedging - Airlines lock in fuel rates by purchasing fuel at low prices often several years in advance.
Efficient operating cost in the way of reduced flying hours, direct flights and often with one type of craft to reduce the purchase and maintenance of multiple parts. Fuel-efficient planes with smaller, lightweight seats, and airports with low fees. Another major way airlines reduce their cost is to charge passengers for just a seat and charge separately (a la carte) for luggage, drinks, snacks, early boarding, seating upgrades and any other luxuries. Remember, the lower the fare, the lower the comfort so be sure to always plan well ahead! Each of the airlines listed below offer discounted travel and some airlines are cheaper than others. Like myself, many travelers find it worthwhile to save on airfare.
When traveling with the hubby, we take the cheapest flights and splurge after we arrive at our destination. When faced with a long flight, however, we opt for upgraded seats or fly with an LCC instead of an ULCC. Now, it is imperative to thoroughly review all the rules and conditions before booking with any airline to improve your experience, especially with lower cost carriers. Let's take a look at the U.S discount carriers and the deals they offer.
Allegiant Airlines (ULCC) Allegiant offers inexpensive non-stop flights to various locations that depart and return on certain days of the week. The airline offers deals to casino cities like Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, NV, as well as flights to Missoula, MT and Shreveport, LA. Advance ticket purchases are typically required for the best prices, but last-minute deals are often available. I have seen one-way Allegiant flights for as low as $29.
Any luggage fees can be purchased at the time of booking for the best prices. Food and drinks are available for purchase on board using either a debit or credit card.
Advance notice of promotions, discounts and coupons are available by providing an email address on the Allegiant website sign-in page at https://www.allegiantair.com. The Allegiant World Mastercard is a way to earn reward points towards flights. Vacation packages, hotels and rental cars are available through https://www.allegiantair.com.
Frontier (LCC) Deals are available through their program known as the ‘Discount Den’. The ‘Den’ program is available by a subscription that allows members to gain exclusive access to low airfares, along with additional savings. Here's how it works at a glance: Their is an initial & annual enrollment fees of $49.99. Members receive notification of current or upcoming specials, new destinations and promotions that are not available to the general public. This way, members can book unlimited ultra-low fares per enrollment year.
Members may book up to 6 additional discounted fares for a reservation that they are traveling on. Early return miles are earned for each purchase. Reward points may also be earned through the Frontier World Mastercard.
Each passenger receives one personal item of luggage (a purse, briefcase, or laptop bag) free, but a carry-on and checked baggage will cost a fee. Hotels and rental cars are also available at Flyfrontier.comI have seen online deals offered to select locations as low as $20 per person each way.
Jet Blue (LCC) The ‘Best Fare Finder’ displays the cheapest one-way fares per person on select dates. Travelers select the options they want under the following categories Blue, Blue Plus, Blue Flex & Mint. Jet Blue has 2 credit cards, the ‘JetBlueCard’ and the JetBlue Plus. The cards combined with the ‘TrueBlue’ loyalty program provides multiple ways to increase earnings. ‘TrueBlue Badges’ is an online interactive way to earn rewards. ‘Family Pooling’ allows family members to connect and increase points. JetBlue ‘Mosiac’ is an elite status for frequent flyers that provides added benefits. Current deals can be found on their website www.promotioninmotion.com. The site allows travelers to book vacation packages, hotels, rental cars and cruises.
Each passenger is allowed a free personal item and a carry-on, but size restrictions apply. Checked bags will cost a fee. Free snacks, soft drinks, TV and radio are included, regardless of the chosen category. Jet Blue ‘All You Can Get Jet’ passes are not always available but when they are, what a great deal they are. Travelers pay a low seasonal fee of $299- $699 and fly unlimited during a preset time period or season, providing there is seating available. Recently the passes were available as a contest prize.
Spirit (ULCC) ‘Free Spirit’ is a free email subscription that provides multiple specials and updates weekly. Points are accumulated through travel, dining, shopping, games and more. $9 Club: Members subscribe, and receive, offers of discounted fares and reduced baggage fees. There is an Initial and annual enrollment fee of $59. Members receive notification of current or upcoming specials, new destinations and promotions. The special fares usually end with a 9 and include deals around $29 and $39. Check out Spirit's low fares at www.Spirit.com.The Spirit Mastercard is also available for members to earn bonus points.
Luggage: 1 free personal item. Checked bags and carry-ons will cost a fee (size requirements apply). Luggage fees are cheapest when purchased during booking. The lowest fare that I have ever paid on Spirit was $ .01 U.S + tax, of course, which was under $20.
Southwest (LCC) The ‘Low Fare Calendar’ reveals the cheapest days to travel. Weekly deals are available to email subscribers with " Click and Save" formerly known as ‘DING’. Bonus points, and even Companion Passes, may be earned with the Southwest Airlines Rapid Reward Card.
Luggage- 1 personal item, 1 carry on and 2 checked bags fly free, but check the required dimensions In addition to flights, vacation packages, hotels and rental cars are available at https://www.southwest.com..
Virgin Atlantic (LCC) The ‘Flying Club’ allows members to earn miles according to the miles which they fly, their ticket purchases, and by tier levels ("Red, Silver & up to Gold"). Members can spend their earned miles on upgrades, reward flights and with other airlines and ground partners. Members earn bonus points with increasing tier levels; seat selection, extra baggage, clubhouse passes, priority wait-lists, bonus birthday miles and complimentary spa treatment and more. Bonus points are also available for members with the Virgin America Credit Card.
Luggage: One personal item and one carry on is free. Checked bags will cost a fee (size restrictions apply). Virgin Atlantic offers three economy flight options Light, Delight and Classic. Additional offers: economy, premium, and upper class deals from the U.S. to London for as low as $300 (economy).
There are also discount flights to Africa, Dubai and Delhi, India. If you do not like to fly, try taking an Ultra Low-Cost Bus:
Mega Bus- tickets often as low as $1 to and from select locations.
Flixbus is new to the Southwest and this includes Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, Tucson and Phoenix. Flixbus offers affordable eco-friendly ground travel.