Ultra-Low Cost Airlines
Buy cheap airline tickets with Ultra-Low Cost Airlines on Alternative Airlines. Begin your search today with options of loads of great Ultra Low Cost Airlines.
What is an Ultra-Low Cost Carrier?
An ultra-low cost carrier, also known as ultra-low cost airline or abbreviated to ULCC, is an airline that operates with a low cost business model, meaning customers get tickets at a much lower cost.
Although both cheap, ULCC are not to be confused with a low cost carrier (LCC) as they operate a different business model, with unbundled fares and the result being cheaper prices of flights for customers. For example, on an ULCC, you will get a seat on a plane from one destination to another, but any extras such as baggage, selecting your seat or food are subject to an additional fee. Although not for everyone, ULCCs provide a cheap and convenient option for budget travellers who do not care for the extra ‘frills’.
These ultra-low cost carriers typically have fewer amenities than simple low cost carriers, and therefore have a greater range of add-ons for a fee.
The current ULCC tend to be American airlines, typically because domestic flights in the USA are shorter, have less frills and therefore are cheaper to operate. See the list below of the best ultra-low cost airlines for some examples of American ones, and also some others.
The best Ultra-Low Cost Carriers
One of the American airlines which is most frequently cited as a ultra-low cost airline, this airline was originally founded in 1983 and is now the seventh largest commercial airline in the United States. With this ULCC, you can fly to destinations around the United States, Latin America, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean.
Although now ceased operations, WOW Air was a good example of a European ultra-low cost airline. Based in Iceland since 2011, this airline operated flights to Europe, Asia and North America. However, they ceased operations in March 2019. If you want to find alternative flights to WOW Air, simply complete a search in the bar above to see alternative airlines to routes, or check out other European Airlines.
Allegiant Air is another American airline, that along with Spirit is commonly referred to as a ultra-low cost carrier. This discount airline is the 9th largest commercial airline in the United States. Based in Summerlin, Nevada, just outside Las Vegas, this airline flies exclusively domestically within the United States, with its top destinations being Orlando, Florida, St. Petersburg, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ryanair is an Irish ultra low cost airline based in Dublin. It's Europe's largest airline flying to many short to medium-haul routes including Sofia, Hamburg, Barcelona, Lisbon, etc. A fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft are used by the airline.
Frontier Airlines is headquartered and hubbed at Denver International Airport in Colorado. This airport is the eight-largest commercial airline operating in the US, and also is an ultra low-cost carrier. Flying to over 100 locations within the US, this airline focuses its operations on domestic flights in the USA, especially to its focus cities. The airline was founded 25 years ago in 1994.
Another ultra-low cost American airline which is the 11th-largest in the US by total number of passengers. With a main hub at Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport, this airline also has focus cities as Dallas Fort Worth, Las Vegas and Portland (OR), and flying to 54 total destinations. This airline does not only fly to destinations in the US, however, as it flies to destinations also in Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Aruba and Belize. This airline was founded in 1982 and commenced operations the year after in 1983.
This airline is reportedly Canada’s first ultra-low cost carrier, and is owned but low-cost Canadian WestJet. This is a relatively new airline, having only been founded in 2017 and commencing operations in 2018. Hubbed at Hamilton Airport and Edmonton Airport, this ULCC flies to over 15 destinations domestically in Canada, but also to North American and to the Caribbean.
Canada Jetlines is a ULCC, also based in Canada. Although the airline has not begun operations yet, they plan to meet the market demand for ultra-low cost air travel in Canada. The airline was founded in 2013 and only started commercial services in December 2019.
Flying with an
To reap the most benefits of flying with an ultra-low cost carrier, and to ensure prices of your flights are kept down, you should try and pack as light as possible. Make sure to check how much baggage is included in the price of your ticket, as it varies airline to airline and some may include hand luggage whereas others will not. Find out the difference between personal items and hand luggage here.
With most ULCCs, you will have the option to book baggage onto your flight ticket. For some airlines, the ticket of a ULCC plus paying for baggage will still work out cheaper than other options, whereas some it may be cheaper to just book a flight which includes baggage in the first place. If you do, however, want to add baggage onto your flight, check out our how-to guide here.
Selecting a seat
Remember that with ultra-low cost carriers, it is cheap because the fares are unbundled so you only pay for what you want. You should check if you actually need that airline seat, and if the price is worth the view, extra room, or the ability to sit next to a loved one.
However, on many flights these days, whether a ULCC or not, you will have to pay to select a seat, so the price difference may not be much dissimilar. If you decide that you would like to book a seat for your flight, you can either do so at the point of purchasing your flight, or after through My Account. Read more about these different methods, including how to book the seats with Alternative Airlines here.
ULCCs tend to operate short-haul flights, so there is generally no hope for any in-flight entertainment such as movies or games on a personal TV screen. Instead, be prepared and save money by bringing your own personal device or tablet, or a magazine or book to keep you entertained.
Is flying with an ULCC worth it?
It totally depends on the traveller! If you are happy with simple air travel which gets you cheaply from one destination to another, then yes, ULCCs are totally worth it. However, if you are someone who doesn’t pack light, or who wants the ability to choose their seat, then LCC, hybrid airlines or full-service airlines may be the right option for you
What ultra-low cost carriers can I purchase on Alternative Airlines?
From the examples of ULCCs above, Alternative Airlines can ticket the following airlines:
- Sun Country Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
Just because its not an ULCC doesn’t mean you can’t get cheap flights. Search for routes and airlines using the search bar above to find great deals on your flights.
Are ULLC airlines different from discount airlines?
Yes, ULLC airlines are different from discount airlines. A discount airline is another name for a low-cost airline.