The Cheapest Airlines in the World
Emma Langley, 22.01.19
Some airlines are well known for being cheaper than others. But when you take into account the price per mile and costs for additional fees such as baggage, check-in services and other amenities, you may be left wondering which airline is really best for cheap flights. We’ve put together a list of the best airlines in the world for getting the best value for money, split by regions which include both the cheapest international airlines and cheapest airlines for domestic travel, to ensure you can get the best deal on your flights.
Cheapest Airlines in Asia
Age: 25 years
Destinations: 74 (excluding subsidiaries)
Fleet: 89 (excluding subsidiaries)
Hub: Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL)
About: The AirAsia company has been voted the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline by Skytrax, for the 10th year in a row, including at the latest 2018 awards. That’s why there's no question as to why this airline features high on our list of the cheapest airlines in Asia, with fares as low as US$0.07 per km. Although this airline is a no-frills, typical low-cost airline, it’s a great option for passengers who wish to get a great bargain on the basic airfare, without paying for extras they may not need. Under the AirAsia name, the airline sells cheap flights in and around Asia, including Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. It’s sister company, AirAsia X also specialises in budget flights for long-haul and transatlantic routes, with destinations such as London, Honolulu and many more across Australia and the Middle East. To get the best deal out of long haul flights with AirAsia X, consider a long layover on your flight in order to get the best deal. For more ways to get cheap flights, read our blog on the best day to buy flights.
Age: 13 years
Hub: Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL)
About: IndiGo is the largest airline in India, due to the number of passengers carried each year on its impressive number of aircraft, which is expected to continue to grow over the next few years. IndiGo has been ranked top for not only one of the cheapest airlines in Asia, but one of the cheapest airlines in the world. These rankings come from other travellers, meaning that although they are low-cost, you get great value for money. In addition to being voted for best value, their fares reportedly cost as little as US$0.10 per km. Although this airline focuses mainly on domestic destinations within India making it the cheapest airline in India, they are beginning to expand to international locations such as Thailand, UAE and Sri Lanka. With more international destinations expected in the future, they are definitely an airline to watch for cheap flights around the world!
Photo: Laurent Errera via Wikimedia Commons
Cheapest Airlines in Europe
Age: 23 years
Hub: London Luton Airport (LTN)
About: Although people are often skeptical about the true final costs and value for money that easyJet provides, it may surprise some to discover that easyJet has been voted the best value airline in the UK for short-haul flights. This award came from assessing the costs of popular carriers in the UK, when including food and drink, seat selection and luggage fees. Ryanair, another European airline offering similar services, actually ranked lower in this study. However, it is another cheap alternative for passengers wanting a basic fare flight, as it came out cheapest with an average of only £90 per route, with some individual flights coming in under £30! Nonetheless, easyJet remains our best airline for cheap flights across Europe, with destinations such as Bulgaria, France, Italy, Malta and Portugal. Read more about Malta in our local’s guide, which is sure to inspire you to go there.
Age: 4 years
Hub: Vnukovo International Airport (VKO)
About: Pobeda is an airline that you may not have heard of, but it is actually a subsidiary of one of the oldest airlines in the world, Aeroflot. It takes advantage of the lack of mainstream budget airlines flying to Russia (Ryanair and easyJet do not currently), by offering flights to a number of destinations in Russia from locations around Europe, including countries such as Cyprus, Italy and Germany. To get the cheapest fare with Pobeda, select their ‘Standard’ rate, which includes a cabin bag, or upgrade to more baggage and seat section for a small fee with a ‘Plus’ or ‘Premium’ ticket. Pobeda also have a service called ‘Fly&Bus’ which allows passengers to get a bus service from the airport into select cities, included in the price of the airfare. This unique bonus can help you save considerable amounts of holiday spending money on additional transport for a taxi or bus. This service is currently only available at Milan and Yerevan, though it is expected to be available elsewhere soon.
Photo: Papas Dos via Flickr
Age: 85 years
Hub: Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
About: Air France is not often an airline that comes to mind when you think of cheap airlines. Although some may be right in thinking Air France fares are higher than it’s cheaper alternatives, Air France can prove to be great for value for money. When purchasing flights for a family of four with two children, after paying for extras such as sitting together and luggage, Air France comes out on top for the average cost per passenger, making it one of the cheapest options for travelling with children. One additional bonus of this cheap airline is that their destinations are not limited to Europe. In fact, you can get cheap transatlantic flights to destinations such as Brazil, USA, and Canada, as well as flights to Asian destinations such as China, Japan and South Korea. Their large selection of fleet also includes the Boeing Dreamliner, meaning Air France could be the cheapest way to fly on one of the most impressive aircrafts in the world: the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Cheapest Airlines in the Americas
Age: 25 years
Hub: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
About: Advertised as not only a ‘low cost’ airline, but in fact a ‘ultra-low cost’ carrier, Spirit Airlines prides itself on providing very competitive prices for its airline tickets. Although this means that Spirit offer only a basic fare, with any additional features being charged at an excess fee, it is a great option for fliers who just want a simple flight without paying for unwanted extras. When booking directly with Spirit Airlines, people are often surprised at the increase between the initial advertised fare and the final fare paid. However, when booking with Alternative Airlines, the price you see already includes all the fees, with added charges only for passengers who wish to select a seat or buy additional baggage, still at competitive rates. You can also save on unwanted fees by checking-in online before you travel, or by bringing your own food with you onto the plane. Spirit Airlines is a great airline for cheap domestic flights in the USA, with destinations also in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America.
Photo:Tomás Del Coro via Flickr
Age: 13 years
Hub: Mexico City International Airport (MEX)
About: Interjet Airlines is a Mexican airline which operates flights to many destinations, from Canada in the north, numerous Mexican destinations) and also flights to countries in South America such as Peru, Colombia and El Salvador. If you are looking to travel to South America on a budget, why not check out our blog on the cheapest countries in South America. Alternatively, if you're travelling to Mexico City with Interjet, why not read our Mexico City travel guide. Not only does this airline offer cheap basic fares, when travelling in Mexico and to or from Latin America, the basic fare, ‘Light’, includes a 55lb checked bag and complimentary drinks and snacks on board!
Photo: SuperJet International via Flickr
Cheapest Airlines in Australia
Age: 11 years
Hub: Melbourne (Tullamarine International) Airport (MEL)
About: Tigerair Australia is well known as a cheap Australian airline who offer very competitive domestic flights in Australia. Tigerair Australia was announced in 2018 as the cheapest airline in the world, by company Rome2Rio, averaging at only US$0.06 per km. Tigerair is actually the low cost sister of Virgin Australia, who focuses on providing low-cost air fares to Australian destinations, rather than Virgin Australia’s offer of inclusive flights further afield. Tigerair’s website adds a number of fees such as admin and payment fees, so make sure you book with Alternative Airlines, as we show all fees up front, so there are no nasty surprises when you come to checkout. Alternative Airlines also specialises in providing a wide range of regional payment methods, offering methods such as Poli in Australia.
Photo: Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia Commons
Age: 98 years
Hub: Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport (SYD)
About: Qantas featuring on this list of cheapest airlines may surprise some, due to it being the premium rival of cheaper alternatives like Tigerair. However, despite its more premium status, it does not mean spending loads more money. Ranking highly at only US$0.11 per km, this is a pretty cheap price for a full-service airline, making it great value for money. Fare prices of Qantas, and well as other airlines, often increase significantly during peak travel times, so ensure you get the best deal on your flights by using Alternative Airlines’ best fare finder, which compares fares on different days in a week. Qantas flies to many destinations across Australia, but also international destinations in Asia, Europe and America, making it a better choice than Tigerair if you are planning to travel further than Australia.
Cheapest Airlines in Africa
Age: 6 years
Hub: Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
About: Fastjet is a low-cost airline who offers destinations across Africa. From Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, you are sure to find a destination with Fastjet to have an African adventure. Why not combine your flight to Africa with a Safari. Read more about Safari flights here. Fastjet’s CEO is looking to increase these destinations in the aim to achieve greater connectivity across Africa with affordable flights. The airline only began domestic flights to Tanzania in 2011 and have already begun increasing their routes across Africa.
Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr
Hub: O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB)
About: South African Airways’ subsidiary, Mango, offers cheap flights mainly in South Africa. Recently named by Skytrax for being the best low-cost airline in Africa for 2018, this airline is known for its hugely discounted fares, which you can buy with Alternative Airlines. It’s hub airport, O.R. Tambo International is featured on our blog as one of the best airports for shopping, so with the money you’ve saved on your cheap flights with Mango, why not treat yourself with some retail therapy at the airport?
Photo: NJR ZA via Wikimedia Commons
Cheapest Airlines in the Middle East
Age: 15 years
Hub: Sharjah International Airport (SHJ)
About: Air Arabia is an airline operating mainly in the Middle East and North Africa, but also in Europe and Asia. This low-cost airline has won many awards for its value for money and low-cost flights, including a World Travel Award for ‘Middle East’s Leading Low-Cost Airline’, making it a great cheap options for flights into the Middle East from around the world. It also has a number of regional subsidiaries, including Air Arabia Egypt and Air Arabia Maroc.
Photo: Papas Dos via Wikimedia Commons
Age: 15 years
Hub: Kuwait International Airport (KWI)
About: Jazeera Airways is a low-cost airline based in Kuwait. Although it might not always supply the cheapest fare in the Middle East, its value for money is certainly worth the extra pennies. Jazeera’s new aircraft fitted with added luxuries such as its signature leather seats makes you feel far from the usual set-up of low-cost flying. This airline flies to many Middle-Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Turkey, but also destinations further afield in Africa and Asia.
Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons