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Photo by Santi Oliveri.

Free-quent flyers

by Lei Yang

A free lunch is hard to come by, a free airline ticket harder to imagine. With people spending less money on travel, an airline company is offering just that.

Dublin-based low-cost airline, Ryanair, is the choice for travelers to grab free air tickets.

Shu Xie, a student from the University of Westminster, likes to travel a lot in her spare time.

Back in China, Sue had discovered that many budget airlines in London offered cheap air tickets.

Reading articles written by international students in London, she realised her dream to travel around Europe was possible.

When she later found out that she could actually travel for free she was overwhelmed.

The “1 MILLION FREE SEATS” promotional email she received seemed unbelievable. "Wow! Could it be true?", she thought.

Free With Strings

There were limitations, however to the deal as Shu soon found out.

The deal is only valid from February to April 30, 2009 and Shu needed to decide fast and book her tickets before midnight on Feb 15, 2009.

Shu will soon be flying to Belfast with two of her friends.

“I have to say you cannot get a completely free ticket as Ryan air advertised,” Shu said.

“Even if you don’t’ carry extra bags, you cannot get the airport check-in fare refunded. If you don’t buy travel insurance from the website, you still have to pay the handling fee of 4.75GBP per person per flight if you do not pay with visa electron.”

"But we can't complain about it. Flying from Belfast to London for only 4.85GBP is great," Shu admitted.

Lu Zheng, Shu’s friends who will travel on this trip with her said, “It’s not strictly free as Ryanair has advertised, but we are quite satisfied with the deal. In China, we would not have the opportunity to benefit from budget airlines."

Valuable tips

As an experienced backpacker, Shu gave Skinflint some tips on how to get real 0 cost air ticket

1. Register with all the budget airlines in your region and as soon as there are great deals, you will be informed.

2. Prepare yourself to travel with light packs. Usually budget airlines will charge for overweight or extra bags

3. Buy annual travel insurance, which can save you from buying insurance from each airline and protect yourself and your luggage.

 

 

 

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