Ever wonder how budget airlines keep their prices so low? If you’re already an anxious flyer, it’s easy to imagine they’re cutting corners, ignoring safety regulations, or flying ancient, rickety planes. As it turns out, most successful budget airlines are actually flying newer planes than many more expensive companies. Instead, they save money by employing a range of strategies—some predictable, some ingenious and wholly unexpected.
In the video above, Wendover Productions gives a brief overview of the business model employed by the most successful European budget airlines (they note that budget airlines in other countries largely copy this model). In order to keep costs down, airlines do everything from flying out of less expensive airports to hiring fewer (and less experienced) employees, and charging for snacks and sodas.
On the more unexpected end, many budget airlines don’t use assigned seating, in part because it forces passengers to arrive and line up earlier, which in turn allows airlines to offer flights more frequently. All these adjustments add up: As the narrator says, “Budget airlines essentially take every expensive part of the flight and make them less expensive.” Check it out above.