I'm looking to fly one way from Brussels to Barcelona in a few weeks. I've been searching Kayak.com and the two recommended sites in the FYI section. I am leery of booking because I've read that many budget airlines charge hefty fees after the fact (baggage, etc). I've read the terms on Ryanair's website and it seems straightforward...I am just wondering if I am missing something and my flight will go from a $140 fare to $300 in an instant. Any tips or I am fretting over nothing? Seems like my two cheapest options are on Ryanair and Vueling Airlines. I'll be staying in the city centre, so I assume it makes more sense to fly out of BRU. Is CRL a viable option or will the costs/time of getting there outweigh the lower fare?
I was reading about increases in extra fees charged by the budget airlines in yesterday's Observer newspaper: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/jun/16/cheap-flights-extras-high-summer In particular, I noted this section: "If you fail to check in bags when booking online, and leave it until you reach the airport, you will face a mammoth £140 per 20kg bag per flight if flying to the Canaries or Greece, up from £130 last year. This would set the same family of four back a budget-busting £560 one-way, or £1,120 return. If you want to avoid steep checked-in baggage costs, you can take one item of cabin baggage free, but this must be no bigger than 55 x 40 x 20cm and cannot weigh more than 10kg." Brussels to Barcelona isn't exactly long haul, and it isn't nearly as far as flights to the Canaries which are specifically mentioned in connection with Ryanair charges for checked baggage. However, other than reading the terms very carefully I'm not sure what to suggest.
Most European budget airlines do specify their various extra charges on the websites before purchase although they don't have to put a full summary on the first page as American lines do. RyanAir, however, requires especially keen attention to detail. You already know it flies from Charleroi, not Brussels itself. The two destination airports, Reus and Girona, are even further than that from the centre of Barcelona. A search on the usually reliable www.skyscanner.com turned up a BCN Barcelona arrival which RyanAir's own site then converted to Reus Barcelona. Beware. It's worth extra money to fly Vueling between the two main airports.
By the way, I notice that RyanAir has introduced a puzzle that has to be solved to gain access to its purchase pages. It completely puzzled me. Whew, guess I'm safe from doing business with them.
Oh wow. I didn't catch the BCN change by Ryanair. All of these sneaky charges and hidden fine print have solidified my decision. I will go with Vueling. I read reviews of them as well, and they didn't seem "as" bad as some of the others. Any caveat emptor tips for them?
Vueling is awesome; we have used them several times. Like all lo-cost inter EU airlines, make sure that you read all their terms/fees/weight & size limits closely. Their website takes some nosing around before you find what each fare option includes (Basic, Optima, Excellence). Like wise you have to query their website to find out that you can bring two items in the cabin; ie small personal item (purse) and a back pack of the right size. Again, use Skyscanner to verify that Vueling is your best option. If you wait until the last minute to book, many times (but not always!)prices go up. Read this, posted by another RS Helpliner: