Be realistic about budget flights

THERE has been some rumbling about budget airlines lately ("Scoot delay: Vouchers not enough to make up for disruption" by Mr Roger Lim, and "Honour published times" by Mr Desmond Teo Ee Hock"; both published yesterday).

The unruly behaviour of passengers at the recently delayed Scoot flight at Changi Airport can only be described as shameful ("22-hour flight delay riles Scoot passengers"; Monday).

Airlines around the world operate on very thin margins.

If you choose to fly budget airlines, you cannot expect a product that is similar to a full-service airline.

You can expect delays and cancellations from time to time as budget carriers will maximise aircraft and crew utilisation. That is the budget airline business model.

You cannot expect to be compensated for delays. All these are frills, and a passenger can buy travel insurance to cover such eventualities.

Budget airlines are not for everyone. They target passengers who want to pay a low price and can accept some inconvenience, be flexible with timing and do not want frills.

The only similarity between budget and full-service airlines is safety; on everything else, you can expect differences.

Even among budget carriers, there are differences in product and service at different price points, so consumers do have a choice.

Christopher Leong Chi How

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2015, with the headline 'Be realistic about budget flights'. Print Edition | Subscribe