For many travelers, cheap airfare is a vital part of an affordable summer trip. Smaller airlines known in the industry as low-cost carriers, or LCCs, traditionally try to undercut legacy carriers such as Delta Air Lines with low operating costs, limited routes, and no-frills service. With most airlines adding fees in recent years, some budget carriers now offer more free amenities than legacy carriers and similar ticket prices. Others stick to a business model that sets a cheap base fare and makes up the difference by charging fees for nearly everything else. This can make it difficult to judge the total cost of a trip, not to mention value for the money. To help consumers make the right choice, Cheapism.com compared fees, seating, baggage handling, customer service, number of flights, and amenities to determine the best U.S.-based budget airlines.
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