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XL Airways UK ceased operations in 2008. Click on the logos below to see airlines that operate similar routes to XL Airways.

Unfortunately, XL Airways has ceased operations.

XL Airways ceased operations in 2008 and is no longer flying. Please take a look at the alternative airlines above that operate similar flights to XL Airways.

About XL Airways

XL Airways was a British low-cost charter and scheduled airline that operated from 1994 to 2008. The airline was known for its affordable package holidays and sunny destinations, catering primarily to leisure travellers.

XL Airways was founded in 1994 as Airtours Sunflights, a subsidiary of Airtours Plc. It acquired Flying Colours Leisure Group in 1998, merging its operations and adding more destinations before it eventually rebranded to XL Airways UK in 1999. The airline expanded rapidly, acquiring Caledonian Airways in 2003 and increasing its fleet to over 50 aircraft.

The airline offered a wide range of short-haul and long-haul charter flights, primarily to popular leisure destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the United States.

Unfortunately, XL Airways encountered financial difficulties due to rising fuel costs, growing competition and the global economic downturn in 2008. Its parent company, XL Leisure Group, filed for administration in September 2008, leading to the airline's immediate closure. As a result of this, thousands of passengers were left stranded abroad.

Baggage Allowance

Carry-on Baggage

Passengers were generally allowed one standard cabin bag and one smaller personal item like a purse or laptop bag.

The combined dimensions of the main cabin bag typically couldn't exceed 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (21.7 x 15.7 x 7.9 inches).

Weight restrictions for the cabin bag typically ranged from 5kg to 10kg, depending on the specific route and fare type.

Checked Baggage

The standard checked baggage allowance varied depending on the destination and fare type, typically ranging from 20kg to 30kg per passenger.

Additional checked bags could be purchased for an extra fee.

Specific size restrictions for checked luggage also existed, usually around 158cm (62 inches) in total linear dimensions (length + width + height).

Check-In Information

Online Check-In

  • Offered 24 hours before departure on most routes.
  • Passengers could choose seats, print boarding passes, and add baggage allowance if needed.
  • Likely available through the airline's website or possibly even via a mobile app.

Airport Check-In

  • Available at desks dedicated to XL Airways UK at departure airports.
  • Passengers who hadn't checked in online might have faced queues and additional fees.
  • Separate facilities for online and airport check-in could have existed for smoother processing.

Cabin Classes

Before it ceased operations, XL Airways UK offered its passengers two cabin classes to choose from - Economy or Premium Economy.

Economy Class

This was the most affordable option and constituted the majority of seating on their aircraft. Seats typically had standard legroom and basic amenities like individual seat-back screens for entertainment.

Some Economy seats might have been located near emergency exits or in bulkheads with slightly more space. XL Airways UK offered various fare options within Economy, potentially differentiating legroom, seat selection, or baggage allowances.

Premium Economy Class

This class provided a step up in comfort and amenities compared to Standard Economy. Features could have included wider seats with more legroom, reclining options, upgraded entertainment systems, and potentially priority boarding and baggage handling. The specific offerings of Premium Economy might have varied slightly depending on the aircraft type and route.

Country flags

Destinations that XL Airways flew to

Before ceasing operations in 2008, XL Airways UK flew to a wide range of destinations across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Here's a breakdown by country and city:

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Hub Airport

XL Airways UK didn't have one particular airport to use as its hub. It had multiple bases, primarily in the UK, including London Gatwick Airport, Manchester Airport, Birmingham Airport and Bristol Airport.

It also used smaller regional airports such as Belfast International, East Midlands and Newcastle upon Tyne, acting as hubs for specific routes or seasonal schedules.


Before ceasing operations, XL Airways UK's fleet consisted of the following aircraft:

1 x Airbus A320-200

1 x Airbus A330-200

5 x Boeing 727-200

2 x Boeing 737-200

3 x Boeing 737-400

25 x Boeing 737-800

2 x Boeing 737-900ER

2 x Boeing 747-300

5 x Boeing 757-200

1 x Boeing 767-200

2 x Boeing 767-200ER

3 x Boeing 767-300ER

1 x McDonnell Douglas MD-83