Alvin In The Room: Journal

Low-cost airlines not only save but gain

Flight from Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur  

Flight from Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur  


I started traveling by low-cost carriers (LCCs) or low-cost airlines like Air Asia and Vanilla Air from 2011, and took them almost every year (except 2014).

LCCs can offer cheaper airfare compared to other airlines (non-LCCs) in general, although it's not always the case. The low price, together with their fare structure in contrast to other airlines (like Cathay Pacific and ANA), is only the starting point. What I can benefit is more than saving money.

從2011年開始,幾乎每年(除了2014年外)都有搭乘過如Air Asia、Vanilla Air等的「低成本航空」,因為營運和收費方式的不同,讓它們比其他航空公司有更大空間來得較便宜(雖然不是每一次都這樣,也要看其他公司的促銷,以及供求狀況)。五年後發覺,這些低成本航空公司所給我的,已經不只是「省下旅費」的層次。

1. Longer travel period | 旅行時間可以更長

If LCCs do not exist, I cannot afford a long period trip, say from two weeks to two months. Non-LCCs sell different kinds of round-trip tickets and their fares are dependent on how long you stay overseas. The longer the stay overseas, the more experience is the airfare of non-LCCs. (They have single-trip tickets of course, but it's always too expensive...)

LCC doesn’t have that price structure, and they sell single-trip tickets only. The price level is usually affordable and there is only slight (and even no) difference between two-month and two-week travel periods.

一般航空公司機票以來回票發售,價格水平且視逗留時間而定:在海外逗留時間愈久,價格愈貴。(註:它們有單程票,但一定不及來回票的化算)要是沒有低成本航空的話,我想我是不能負擔長達兩星期甚至兩個月的旅行。

低成本航空沒有上述的限制,它們只有單程而沒有來回票,而單程票本來已經很合理甚至很便宜,所以旅行兩個月還是兩星期,基本上分別不大,其價格水平也在我負擔能力以內。

2. More options: more possible ways to travel | 旅行可以有更多的可能性

The fare structure of LCCs is different from other airlines. They don’t have all-in-one prices, they only have the based airfare with different add ons dependent on what you need. You will have to do more calculations to see if the total price is good for you, or to think what the current price can bring to you. For many people it is a kind of inconvenience and they may prefer the bundle (i.e., non-LCCs). When there is an opportunity to choose and opt out, travel can have more ways (say the route) than you imagine.

For example, I don’t need to leave the same place where I arrive in. In January this year, I took a flight to land on Thailand first, and then to Kuala Lumpur and back directly to my hometown. Yes! Non-LCCs do have open-jaw tickets, but usually not cheap. 

Due to the cheap enough single-trip airfare, people can now choose different airlines when they are traveling to and back from a destination. They can get somewhere by airlines A while returning by B, for the sake of the lowest airfare and maximizing time of stay.

低成本一般來說各項服務分開計算:基本票價、其他服務有需要再加,視乎每人所需。購買機票時須仔細計算,再看看總票價是否自己心中價錢,或在現時價格水平下,我可以有什麼旅行安排。對於很多人來說,這是一件十分麻煩的事情,全包的航空公司不是更好嗎?但當可以有選擇和不選擇的時候,旅行才能有想像以外的不同組合和方式(如路線)。

就如我今年一月去泰國和馬來西亞,我先乘航班去泰國,然後去馬來西亞,最後從吉隆坡返港。一般全包的航空公司其實本來有一種叫open jaw的機票,但能有便宜的價格不多。

即使只去一個目的地,因為單程票夠便宜,所以可以就價格和班次需要,去回程選擇不同的航空公司。 


If you remember my notion of 'All plans are "Plan B"!' in this article, and get into habits of thinking and writing some exciting and strange ideas in your notebook, you may want to fulfill them. Low-cost airlines not only provide lower airfares, but also remove constraints so that those ideas will come true more easily. Don't just regard LCCs as a tool for saving money. Don't think taking LCCs as the only loss (due to less comfort and luxury enjoyment onboard) compared to other airlines. You will gain other things, say your dream and something unexpected but exciting.

如果你記得我曾說過的「所謂計劃,其實就是Plan B」,並有記錄自己靈光一閃而又奇怪的想法或想做的事,你會打算付諸實行。低成本航空並不只提供較便宜的機票,而且還會減少旅行的制肘,讓那些想法較容易實現。所以,不要只視低成本航空為省錢工具,也不要認為坐上它是一種損失或犠性(舒適程度而言)。畢竟還是會有得著,你的夢想、一些喜出望外的事情⋯⋯

TravelAlvin C