We don’t know about you, but our plans for a relaxing December vacation quickly fell to pieces thanks to the travel chaos that erupted. 

Most major airlines were forced to delay or cancel flights around the Christmas holiday due to an arctic blast and winter storms affecting most of the country. It was frustrating, but the carriers did their best to get passengers refunds or booked on another flight/airline.

However, at Southwest they were having a catastrophic “flightmare.” The airline canceled more than 5,000 flights in less than 48 hours leaving travelers stranded at airports across the country. We got caught up in the Southwest mess and missed the one time a year that we get to see our family in Ohio. We’re not going to sugarcoat it. That sucked, but we are grateful that we found out our Southwest flight had been canceled 7 hours before our scheduled departure. 

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Spending the holidays in Boise was fine, but now we’re getting stir-crazy. Are you feeling the same way? Is January’s constant state of gray making you crave sunshine? Well, if you’re looking to take a vacation on a budget to make up for a canceled trip, you’re in luck! 

Mind Your Dollars, a website dedicated to serving you with financial news without being stuffy, recently put together a list of the best budget airlines from coast to coast and their top pick for the West does offer service in Boise.

They chose Avelo Airlines, a carrier that started service from Boise to Los Angeles in May 2022. We’re fairly unfamiliar with Avelo, so we hopped on Kayak to see what their fares were like compared to other carriers. For this comparison, we selected February 2 as our departure date, February 5 as our return date and searched for direct flights from Boise to Los Angeles. Here’s what the search gave us for base fares:

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Is It Too Good to Be True?

As you can see, when it comes to base fares, Avelo blows the other choices out of the water but is that price too good to be true? On Delta and Alaska, you can select your seats with these fares at no extra cost (but you can pay to upgrade to better seats.) American told us to contact Alaska for a seat assignment but wasn’t charging an additional fee to select a seat. 

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On Avelo’s seating map, each seat has a price tag. The cheapest seats are middle seats near the back of the plane starting at $12. The most expensive are window or aisle seats in the first row of the plane at $59. You don’t HAVE to pay that fee. If you choose to ski seat selection, they’ll assign you a seat at no cost later. Even if you went with the best seats on the plane for both flights, you’re still looking at $272 for the fare. 

What About Baggage Fees?

Delta, Alaska and American all let passengers bring one carry-on and a personal item (purse, backpack, laptop bag that can fit under the seat) on board for free. Avelo allows one personal item for free but charges anywhere from $40-$50 for a larger carry-on. So, if you took your chance on a free seat AND waited until the last minute to decide you need a carry-on, you’re looking at a fare of $204. 

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Delta, Alaska and American each charge $30 for your first checked bag. Avelo is a little pricer. Depending on when you decide to pay for that checked bag it will cost you between $40-$50. So, if you took your chance on a free seat AND paid for a last-minute carry-on AND paid for a last-minute checked bag, you’re looking at a fare of $254. (Even if you selected the nicest seats on the plane and paid the two most expensive baggage options, you’d be at $372.) 

They Don’t Fly into LAX?

No, and that might be a good thing if airports give you anxiety. Fodor’s Travel named the Hollywood Burbank Airpot (BUR) that Avelo flies into as the best airport in America. It’s known to have smaller crowds, affordable parking, shorter TSA lines and the ability to walk between terminals instead of having to take shuttles. It's actually closer to the major tourist attractions in Los Angeles than LAX, too. 

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They named LAX the worst airport in the world. Not America, the WORLD.

So now you’re armed with the info to decide for yourself if you want to give Mind Your Dollar’s pick for the “Best Budget Airline in the West” a chance. Happy travels! 

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