While big-name airlines are great, some travelers overlook the benefits of budget airlines. There are many of these airlines around the world and because each one (usually) only flies to a handful of destinations, you can save some money on your next flight. Here are the best budget airlines according to the Skytrax World Airline Awards:
For the past six years, AirAsia has been named the number-one low-budget carrier in the Skytrax annual World Airline Awards. The airline offers a wide variety of food options compared to other budget airlines and boasts premium business-class cabins that include flat-bed seats and rentable entertainment options.
A favorite among North American travelers, Virgin America caters to the more “laid-back” flyers, offering in-flight wi-fi, mood lighting, on-demand food options, seat outlets, and more. The airline has also scored a high customer satisfaction rating and services more than 20 destinations in the U.S. and Mexico.
With free wi-fi and large overhead bins, Norwegian is often a favorite among travelers in Norway, but also among travelers in several West Coast U.S. cities. The airline has expanded to include New York City, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and others, and is growing its presence in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
Based in London, easyJet operates nearly 700 domestic and international routes in 32 countries. In 2014, the airline carried more than 65 million passengers, making it the second-largest airline in Europe by passenger carried, and it’s even edged out the popular UK airline Ryanair for best value.
Jetstar Airways now includes airlines based in a variety of countries, such as Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Pacific, Jetstar Vietnam, and Jetstar Japan. The group flies to 60 different destinations in 16 different countries and offers rentable seatback entertainment systems or loaded iPads on flights longer than 90 minutes.
Even though it began just 10 years ago, IndiGo has become India’s largest airline. The fleet includes brand new Airbus A320 planes and travelers can enjoy a free checked bag. However, there isn’t any in-flight wi-fi or entertainment.
While primarily a Canadian airline (the country’s second-largest), WestJet is actually expanding its North American presence to give Southwest a run for its money. It also has regular flights to Latin America, the Caribbean, and even Europe, and services more than 50,000 passengers daily.
Asia Pacific’s Scoot airline uses larger planes (such as the 787) in much of its fleet, which means passengers get more in the way of comfort. Begun in 2012, the airline flies to 18 destinations, with the majority of them being into and out of Singapore.