Budget Airlines in Prague

Budget Airlines in Prague

With summer at least technically upon us, people might be itching to travel. One of the joys of living in Prague is its centrality, and yet the range of cheap flights on offer to other European capitals is not so great.

Below is a list of the budget carriers operating from the Czech capital. Size limitations prevent us from listing all the flights and prices. However, as anyone who has experience with these airlines knows, usually the more in advance you book the cheaper the flights. There are still some good prices like Prague one way to Milan in July with EasyJet for just under 500 CZK.



Unfortunately, there are extra costs which you usually get hit with toward the end of the booking. For a start there are taxes and airport fees which vary from airport to airport. The airlines in most cases add on other costs when you purchase a ticket. The list is by no means exhaustive but it will give you an idea what the true price of the discounted flight may be.

EasyJet
EasyJet offers flights to Milan Malpensa, Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles De Gaulle as well as to Stanstead, Gatwick, Doncaster and Bristol in the UK.

Carry-on (Hand) Luggage: Each passenger is allowed one piece of hand luggage at no extra cost. The carry-on luggage should not exceed the dimensions 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm and weigh no more than 10 kg. Items not counted as extra are umbrellas, coats and shopping bags from the airport.

Checked-in (Hold) Luggage: EasyJet charge 300 CZK per flight for each item and together the combine weight of the luggage should not exceed 20 kg. This means it’s 600 CZK for a return flight and more if you notify them at the airport. Luggage which goes over this limit will be charged 320 CZK for each kilo over with a maximum limit of 32 kg for a single piece and an absolute maximum of 50 kg per passenger. There is an additional fee of 670 CZK (960 CZK) at the airport for sports equipment.

Other Costs and Services: Apart from food, other costs are speedy boarding (175 CZK per flight) and paying by credit card (270 CZK per booking).

Cancellations and Flight Changes: You can cancel a booking within 24 hours of making it. If you can’t fly, EasyJet has a strict policy of not refunding and will only offer credit in certain circumstances. Flights can be rescheduled to a more convenient time for 840 CZK plus the difference if the new fare is more expensive. No refund is given if the new fare is cheaper.

Connecting Flights: EasyJet does not arrange connecting flights. Each flight must be book individually. Plus the luggage must be collected and you have to check in for the second flight. The company recommends allowing two hours for connection.

Wizz Air
This Hungarian carrier offers the largest number of destinations from Prague for a budget carrier, including Barcelona, Rome, Venice and Paris.

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Carry-on Luggage: You are allowed one item 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm, weighing up to 10 kg. Permitted additional items can be a coat, reading material and phone. You don’t pay for carry-on luggage.

Checked-in Luggage: Wizz Air charge 405 CZK per bag. No bag can weigh more than 32 kg.

Other Costs and Services: In addition to your flight there is 135 CZK check-in fee if you check in on line. It is 270 CZK if you check in at the airport. Basically, you get charged either way. There is also a 135 CZK optional fee for extra leg room if bought on-line, double if bought at the airport. An extra 135 CZK is charged for credit card purchases. It is also possible to book a bus to take you to your destination´s city center. A full list of fees is available here. Select “česky” from the drop down language menu to see prices in crowns.

Cancellations and Flight Changes: Wizz Air will accept cancellations, but there is a fee and that fee depends on how soon you cancel. Cancellations made up to fourteen days before departure incur a 1620 CZK charge. People who cancel within 14 days will pay 2160 CZK.

Connecting Flights: Wizz Air doesn’t handle connecting flights either and doesn’t accept liability for missed connections.

Germanwings
This airline offers the second greatest range of destinations, flying to cities in the UK and Germany as well as Barcelona, Venice and Dubrovnik among others.

Carry-on Luggage:
At 8 kg, the maximum weight is a bit less than the other carriers. The permitted maximum dimensions are 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm. Hand luggage is free of charge.

Checked-in Luggage: The maximum permitted weight is 20 kg. The cost depends on which tariff you book under. The basic tariff will require you to pay an extra 8 euros (about 200 CZK) per item. The ‘best’ tariff bundles the luggage cost into the price at a cheaper rate.

Other Costs and Services: If you opt for the basic tariff, snacks and reserving seats will cost you. With the best tariff these are also bundled into the price.

Cancellations and Flight Changes: Flight cancellations are only permitted on the ‘flex’ tariff 30 minutes before departure at the cost of 660 CZK. Customers who book with the other tariffs can only change the date of their flight, not the destination, and the change must be the same kind of tariff, basic for basic or best for best. All their fees can be found here.

Connecting Flights: When booking, Germanwings give you the option of selecting whether a flight is connecting or not.

Ryanair
Probably the biggest of the budget airlines, Ryanair is going to end flights from Prague in October 2010. Until then it will be possible to fly to either Dublin or Stockholm.

Carry-on Luggage: The maximum weight permitted is 10 kg and the maximum dimensions are 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm. There is no charge for this.

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Checked-in Luggage: For 520 CZK per passenger per journey Ryanair allow up to 15 kg. A passenger can opt for 2 bags at 1430 CZK each way. Additional weight allowances can be purchased per bag up to a maximum of 32 kg. This is only possible at the airport.

Other Costs and Services: Apart from promotional flights, you’re charged for checking in: 130 CZK on-line, double at the airport. On top of this there is 130 CZK “administration fee” per journey for using most bank cards.

Cancellations and Flight Changes: Except in the case of bereavement, Ryanair doesn´t offer refunds for cancellations the passenger makes. Flights can be changed for a fee of 35 GBP (about 1000 CZK) plus the difference of the flights.

Connecting Flights: Ryanair answer this question in one word: “No.”

Jet 2
If the north of the UK is more your cup of tea, Jet 2 offers flights to Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester.

Carry-on Luggage: Up to 10 kg is free of charge and the dimensions are 56cm x 45cm x 25cm.

Checked-in Luggage: One piece up to 22 kg can be taken for 360 CZK per passenger per journey. Or two pieces with a combined weight of no more than 30 kg can be stowed for 880 CZK.

Other Costs and Services: Jet2 charges 40 CZK for on-line check in for a passenger with no hold luggage per journey or 160 CZK with hold luggage. A booking fee of 3.5% (or at least 180 CZK) is added to the final bill, plus 2.25% for credit cards on top of this.

Cancellation and Flight Changes: Cancellations are not refunded. However, changes are possible for a fee of 980 CZK plus the difference if the new fare is more expensive.

Connecting Flights: Information regarding this has been conflicting with some saying it’s possible and others saying it is offered.

Bmibaby
Another carrier which serves the UK from Prague is Bmibaby. It has flights to Birmingham or the East Midlands, though flights to the former are only available from October.

Carry-on Luggage: This is free providing you check in on-line. If you check in at the airport the cost is 250 CZK. The maximum weight and dimensions for hand luggage are 10 kg and 55x40x20cm respectively.

Checked-in Luggage: You are allowed five bags with a combine weight of 18 kg for a fee of 1000 CZK (250 CZK check in fee and 750 CZK for baggage.) The fee for excess weight up to 32 kg is 12 GBP (about 360 CZK) per kilogram.

Other Costs and Services: Apart from the airport check-in fee mentioned above, there is 350 CZK surcharge for purchases made by credit card.

Cancellations and Flight Changes: As with other budget airlines, Bmibaby doesn’t give refunds for cancellations. It will allow changes for a fee of 30 GBP (about 920 CZK).

Connecting Flights:
Bmibaby does not offer this service. All flights must be checked in separately.

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SmartWings
This company flies to a number of destinations in the Mediterranean from Tenerife in the West to Dubai in the East, so if you’re looking for some sun this might be the airline to try. Unlike the other airlines they don’t unbundle their prices so the initial price may seem higher.

Carry-on Luggage: A pretty measly 5kg is permitted with each ticket. The maximum dimensions are 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm. They don’t count coats, women’s purses, reading material, umbrellas or “small” personal computers as your piece of luggage.

Checked-in Luggage: Perhaps to compensate for small carry-ons, SmartWings don’t stiff you with your hold luggage. A passenger is permitted one item up to 20 kg in weight. However, there is no clear way of adding to this weight on the website. Under terms and conditions it mentions the legal limit of 32 kg, but not any way to increase your weight allowance.

Other Costs and Services:
Refreshments will cost extra.  The website claims that there are no hidden costs, apart from the fees already incorporated into the price. Going through the booking procedure doesn’t uncover any extra costs. Not even cards are charged.

Cancellations and Changing Flights: SmartWings will only allow you to change the time and date of the flight but not the passenger name nor destination. The cost for this change is 30 euros (about 775 CZK) plus the difference if the fare is more expensive. They don’t reimburse the cost of the flight if you cancel. However, they say passengers are entitled to a refund for taxes, fees and charges paid minus a “reasonable administration charge” which is not specified.

Connecting Flights: SmartWings urges passengers not to use the company for making connecting flights.

One last and important piece of information. Many of these companies fly to secondary airports which can be a fair distance from the city center. It would be wise to check the cost, travel time and availability of buses and trains to and from these airports. The flight might be cheap, but then you might have to sit on a bus for another two hours before you actually get to where you want to be. Or you could find that that only way to catch your 6am flight is to take an expensive taxi ride.

If you are looking for a more full-service flight option; or the above airlines don´t offer your destination, other airlines operating from Prague Airport include Air France, Austrian, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Czech Airlines, and Lufthansa. In total about 50 airlines, serving more than 50 countries and more than 130 destinations operate out of Prague.

What´s been your good, bad, ugly experience with airlines in and out of Prague? Have any travel tips for finding cheap airfare? Join the conversation below!


Ryan Scott

Ryan Scott comes from Australia and despite what you might think he doesn't mind the winters here. He keenly follows local politics but please don't ask him about the hockey.

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