If you’re looking for cheap flights to Nice, don’t be scared off of the low-cost carriers by their hilariously flaky names… like EasyJet, Baboo, Ryan Air and TranSavia! Low-cost airlines provide a very popular way to get around Europe for dirt cheap, and are safe and reliable, similar to Southwest Air in the US.
Nice airport has the largest hub of low cost airlines in France, and by booking early you can fine discount flights within Europe for sometimes under 30€. Big travel search engines like Expedia and Opedo don’t include low-cost airlines, so go to the search engine dedicated to low-budget carriers: WhichBudget. Just click for an up-to-date list of the cheapest flights to Nice… it’s impressive!
But as your mother always told you, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” So here’s what you need to know about using Low Cost Airlines… let’s just say the fantastically misnamed EasyJet may be cheap, but it’s not easy. With low-cost airlines you pay for your luggage, you can’t carry on a briefcase and a purse, you have no assigned seat, the uncomfortable seats don’t even recline, you can’t get a sip of water without paying, and you even pay to pay (10€ credit card fee). …But the toilets are still free, yippee! So check EasyJet (adding in the luggage, seat and credit card fee), and then do a quick check on Air France, and if they are even close choose Air France because it is just so civilized in comparison (Comfy seats! Snacks! Pillows! Even a free Herald Tribune!)
The Two Biggest Low-Cost Airline Traps to Avoid:
- Check-in Luggage: You are allowed to check one bag (that you pay for) with a limit of 20 kilos/44 lbs, and if you choose to pay extra for a second bag… don’t be fooled, it doesn’t give you any extra weight, it just means that you can put the same 20 kilos of stuff into two bags instead of one. If you show up with an extra bag or extra weight you pay through the nose… and could easily end up doubling the cost of your ticket! To avoid such scenes I use this awesome tiny travel luggage scale which I got in the US, but you can also find them in the UK.
- Carry on: Normal airlines allow you a carry-on and a personal item, so your briefcase and a purse, for instance. Not EasyJet: You are allowed only one carry-on, so you have to be able to cram your purse into your briefcase, I’m not kidding, or pay 50€ on the spot. ‘Doesn’t matter if the purse and briefcase are smaller than a normal rolling suitcase: the rule is the rule. One ridiculous solution to this ridiculous rule is to tuck a large black plastic garbage bag in your purse and if stopped at the gate, just whip it out and put your items in it – voila, one carry-on! - for the 30-seconds it takes to walk to the airplane.
One big plus to EasyJet (besides the price) is that you can change your flight for a relatively modest fee (around 30€) up to the last minute, which is very handy if you want to stay a few extra days. If you buy the lowest price ticket on Air France, for example, you have to toss the ticket and buy another one at the shockingly high last-minute price (Paris-Nice 360€).
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