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I've recently booked a flight with Czech Airlines in order to get a somewhat less "low cost" experience (meal on board, luggage included and so on). After hearing several stories about flights by Czech Airlines being merged with SmartWings flights (a low-cost carrier) I decided to check if my flight is about to receive the same treatment and it seems it might.

What are the consequences when this occurs?
What should I expect? (especially when the reviews of SmartWings are pretty bad)
A worse service?
No meal on board?
Basically a low cost experience for a higher price ticket?

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The possible consequences are:

  1. No online check-in, except for flights departing Prague airport. Smartwings requires everyone to check-in at the counter, which always causes huge lines
  2. No free meal, no free drinks of any kind
  3. Less space between the seats
  4. The quality of the cabin is worse, with some of the seats broken at times

Overall it doesn't really matter as Smartwings flies within Europe (except for charter flights and a couple of flights to the Middle East) so it's a 3-hour discomfort at most.

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    QS 1201 (DXB-PRG) is 6:50 long. – chx Jan 12 '17 at 13:38
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You will get whatever was stated in your fare and the terms and conditions.

On many low-cost carriers, inflight meals are available if prebooked at additional (steep) cost. Yours may already be included, if that was stated during booking.

On many low-cost carriers, luggage can be booked at additional cost. Yours may already be included, if that was stated during booking.

On many low-cost carriers, rows with extended legroom come at a price. If your booking did state a certain seat pitch, Czech airlines may be required to book you a seat on the Smartwings plane's Emergency Exit row.

and so on.

If you don't want to fly with Smartwings because the maintenance of the planes or the safety record of the airline is worse, you should at least write an email to Czech airlines that you won't fly with them anymore until they publicly announce to refrain from putting their passengers into Smartwings planes.

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    How is the price for meals "steep"? In my experience (e.g. easyJet or transavia but not so much in central/eastern Europe), it's cheaper than anything you might find at the airport and even adding the price of a meal, charges for hold luggage and premium seats/priority boarding fee, the total cost is typically below the best fares available on similar flights on legacy airlines. – Gala Jan 12 '17 at 12:22
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    @Gala You're comparing the price of a meal at one place notorious for charging a huge amount for poor quality food with another place notorious for charging a huge amount for poor quality food! – djr Jan 12 '17 at 14:03
  • @djr Maybe but those are the options you actually have and the only reasonable standard to assess whether it's a good deal. "Additional (steep) cost" suggests it's a particularly bad one that's somehow specific to low-cost airlines whereas the only thing they offer that others don't is the possibility to opt out or even take your own food with you. "Below airport prices" or "for much less than the fare difference with a legacy airline offering snacks" would be just as accurate and probably more relevant in practice. But it's obviously less dramatic… – Gala Jan 12 '17 at 15:06
  • @Gala Nowhere is it stated that you may not bring your own food onto the plane. Which is the cheapest option, and my favourite choice, even on business trips with legacy airlines. My usual provisions for a nine-hour flight are three or four bread rolls, an apple, a dozen granola bars and a cheap roll of sandwich cookies; totalling me about 4 euros. Add in an empty bottle, filled at an airside sink or water fountain, and I can survive every "food" the legacy airline in charge may serve that day in Economy Premium class. – Alexander May 9 '17 at 11:36
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The answer is Travel Service, which operates own SmartWings as low-cost and became major owner of the CSA. In recent times CSA has drop some inclusive things, like meal included on flights with duration less then 3 hours. Not to be complicated enough, some flights are operated by Korean Air. Korean Air is (was) minor shareholder in CSA. Longer flights are operated usually by CSA and service is better. I can only say from my experience traveling Prague - UK (1h+) and Prague - Spain (3h+). And they share codes so "OK" CSA can be also "QS" SmartWings.

The last thing, SmartWings as not pleasant like CSA, I never had bad experience, like broken seat or so. Actually preferred low-cost of mine. My last flight was in brand new Aircraft, with that cool extra space in roof and really nice ambient light. Being 2m tall it was pleasant.

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