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Who can afford to fly with these nowadays?
Back in April I wrote about the cost of flying with luggage on so called "budget airlines". In yesterdays Mail on Sunday they ran the same article (Im not trying to say they copied me!) but it highlighted the extortionate fees being charged by a certain Irish airline ... no need to guess which, yes my favourite - Ryanair!

Ryanair's standard checked in allowance is already the lowest at 15kg, yet the most expensive by far and they are the only airline which increases its luggage fees over the peak Summer months - the busiest time to cash in.  Between now and September Ryanair charge £50 for 15kg of hold luggage and £70 for 20kg ... BUT should you forget to book luggage and turn up at the airport with your case you will be charged between £200 to £260 for the privilege! Apparently the company claims it is because baggage handling costs are higher but Swissport, the luggage handler for the airline at Stanstead airport stated that its charges remain the same throughout the year. We all know these increases are purely profit related - if they can charge more they will! As always they state that these costs can be avoided by travelling with hand luggage and say that only 30 per cent check in baggage. But I bet that the airline would struggle financially if every single person started travelling with hand luggage only as they claim they want. With 22 million passengers still checking luggage in, that is a very healthy figure to be added to the bottom line profit margin.

Your luggage allowance may be an important factor when you decide which airline to travel with and your allowance will vary depending which airline you are travelling with. When choosing - given that you have that luxury as many provincial airports only have a limited choice, you need to carefully consider the cost of the "optional extras"  which includes luggage and pre-booking seats as well as the booking/card fees.

It is a minefield to get through and in many cases you need a calculator to work out the bottom line - which invariably only comes at at the very last stages of the booking process, by which time you have almost lost the will to live.

Here is a breakdown of the booking fees charged by the main carriers that fly to El Altet Alicante airport and the standard luggage allowance allowed:

Bmibaby 22kg - Debit Card = £3.50 per person each way / Credit Card = £5 per person each way.

EasyJet  20kg- Debit Card = £9 flat fee per booking / Credit Card = Min £13.95 which is made up of £9 booking fee plus 2.5% of transaction OR min of £4.95.

Flybe  15kg-23kg- Debit Card = FREE / Credit Card = £9

Jet2  22kg- Debit Card = 3.6% OR min £4.99 / Credit Card = 3.6% plus additional 3.6% of transaction.

Monarch 20kg - Debit Card = FREE / Credit Card = 4% or minimum £5

Ryanair 15kg-20kg - "Administration fee" £6 per person each way = £12 return

Thomas Cook 20kg - Debit Card = FREE / Credit Card = £4 per person each way

Thomson/Air2000 20kg - Debit Card = FREE / Credit Card = 2.5% OR minimum £4.95

Be very careful because if you go over the stipulated luggage allowance you will be charged per kilo for excess weight - and you guessed it, Ryanair heads the leader board at £20 per kilo.

Colouful, ideal hand luggage size & only 4€!
My advice is as follows... take hand luggage ONLY which at 10kg for most airlines is ample. Then when you get to Benidorm buy the things you need - virtually everything is obtainable here. Go to Mercadona or one of the other many supermarkets to buy your shampoos, shower gels and suncare products - these alone take up a huge part of your weight allowance. Clothes wise take only the bare essential and buy when here - yes honestly. You can pop down to Primark and get T-Shirts at 2€, shorts at 7€ and a sundress for under 10€ - you don't even need to bring them back at that price!

You can purchase fantastic holdalls here at Ale Hop in  a variety of colours and designs - even the children will be happy to carry one of those around. They squash into the cages at the check in and weight nothing - so you get you full 10kg allowance. Try it ....

Today's petrol price
And for those of you that are hiring a car you'll be delighted to know that petrol is substantially cheaper here in Spain than in the UK.
Looking at the average price in the UK last week it was £1.40 for diesel and £1.34 for unleaded.
Today's prices in Spain are 1.32€ for diesel and 1.39€ for unleaded.

At today's exchange rate of 1.24 this would make a saving of 40 cents per litre on diesel and 26 cents on unleaded - which makes quite a difference to the price of a tank of fuel.

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