Budget airline practices are going international.
Airlines are no strangers to cost cutting. Besides squeezing in as many seats as possible, cutting down on meals, and adding fees for everything from gate-checked bags to in-flight entertainment, it seems like nothing is off the table when it comes to airlines saving money.
The latest sacrifice: blankets and headphones.
Starting in October, Aer Lingus, Irish sister-company to U.K. based airline British Airways, will officially remove these complimentary luxuries for passengers flying on cheaper fares from Dublin to North American destinations, according to the Independent.
The new “Saver” fare is a no-frills way of flying, like the “basic economy” fares recently introduced by major U.S. airlines.
Passengers who choose Aer Lingus' saver option will need to bring their own headphones, and should definitely wear a sweater. The option also does not allow passengers to select a seat in advance and check in a bag for free. Plus, only one, maximum 22-pound piece of carry-on baggage is allowed.
However, the new option saves travelers about €40 ($47 USD) each way. And there's still an in-flight meal.
In the event a “Saver” passenger does need a blanket or headphones, they will be available for purchase for €3 (about $3.50 USD) and €5 (About $6 USD) each, respectively.
A representative of Aer Lingus told the Independent that the new option is “designed to meet the diverse needs of today’s traveler, Saver is here to offer more choice and flexibility.”
The new, cheaper fare options are a result of direct competition with other budget transatlantic airlines like WOW Air and Norwegian.
And Aer Lingus isn't the only airline making changes because of new, super-cheap fares between the U.S. and Europe: American Airlines could offer a no-frills transatlantic fare as early as next year. So while this is an announcement by one airline today, don't be surprised if everything that used to come with a long flight — checked bags, food, entertainment, maybe even an alcoholic beverage — suddenly costs extra.
For the most part, passengers will probably be happy to skip the little luxuries if they can travel for cheap.