Walk through the check-in counters at pretty much any North American airport or visit the social media timelines of any major carrier, and you’ll learn everything you need to know about the relationship between some consumers and the airlines. Flyers seem disgruntled about value they receive given what they pay for air travel. It’s a popular topic of conversation, and often mainline airlines are the punching bags of favour for travellers who feel robbed.
It’s against this backdrop that low cost carriers (also known as LCCs) have marketed themselves as a budget-friendly alternative for people wanting cheaper air travel. With fares as little as $0, many LCCs have garnered attention and buzz. But what exactly is a low cost carrier? And what does that ticket actually buy you?