Back in the day, it used to be very expensive to fly around the world. These days, the Travel Gods have smiled down at the budget backpacker. There are so many discount airlines out there and easy-to-use online search engines. We’ve flown with many different carriers and used many online searches. We can recommend these ones to you in terms of cost, not necessarily comfort!

1.  Canadian Affair: This website is for budget flights from Canada to England, or from England to Canada. These flights are cheap. We flew to England for $350 each! We can’t even fly within Canada for that price.

2.  AirAsia: This is a no frills airline based out of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The service is great, the planes are good but you pay for any extras ie: food, drink (even water), baggage check, etc. However, you can still find budget flights from Australia, most parts of Asia, Saudi Arabia and India. We’ve flown with them many times and even found a 4 hour flight for $25.

discount airlines and budget flights
Getting ready to board the Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong.

3.  Spring Airlines:  This airline is great if you are travelling to/from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand and Japan. Flights here are cheap and the service is good. You can sometimes find flights comparable to the cost of taking a train through China.

4.  Jet Airways:  Based in India, this is a great international airline. We flew with them from Nepal to India and the flight was good. Prices here can be cheap if booking during the week and outside of holidays.

5.  Air India Express:  Air India isn’t exactly known for its safety records, but we’ve flown with Air India Express a couple of times and haven’t had any issues. This is a great option if you are looking for budget flights to/from Singapore, Malaysia, the Middle East and India.

6.  IndiGo Airlines: This is the newest of the discount airlines in SE Asia. We flew with them in their new planes and it was a comfortable journey with great service. Like with the other budget airlines out there, there aren’t any frills. This is a good choice for travel between India and SE Asia.

discount airlines and budget flights
The budget flight with Indigo Airlines from India to Thailand.

7.  Zest Air:  This airline is based in the Philippines and is a great budget airline for travel between China, Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. The only issue with Zest Air is that they can sometimes cancel flights last-minute, or, change the departure times. If you book with them, make sure to confirm your flight time prior to flying.

8.  Cebu Pacific Air:  The perfect discount airline to choose if you want to fly anywhere in Asia, and starting in October, 2013, you can also fly to Dubai. They frequently have promos on their website so keep your eyes open!

9.  SEAir:  Yet another discount airline perfect for travel within the Philippines as well as Singapore, Borneo, Thailand and Hong Kong. As with ZestAir, SE Air is notorious for flight cancellations and delays.

10.  Easy Jet:  One of two discount airlines available for budget flights within Europe, the other option being Ryan Air. This awesome airline flies to many countries in Europe, Israel, Morocco, and Egypt. Flights can be had for $30.

If you aren’t sure which airline you want to use, check out This website will search through thousands of flight options and combinations and show you what’s available from the cheapest to most expensive. We’ve used this search engine a lot and have found some great budget flights. It seems that we  always end up booking through or, it’s where we’ve found the cheapest flights.

budget flights and discount airlines
We found a cheap flight using from Istanbul to Cape Town via Dubai. Emirates is an awesome airline!

Most of the discount airlines listed above are no-frills. You’ll have to pay extra for any food and drink, checking your luggage and sometimes to have an assigned seat on the plane. However, those extras aren’t really a necessity and if it will shave $200 off of a flight, I’ll go without a packet of peanuts any day.

More people are travelling these days than ever before. Budget flights are changing the world of travel! For more tips on travelling smarter & cheaper, check out 10 Tips Every Backpacker Should Know. For budget tips and summaries on individual countries, click here!

Have you flown with any discount airlines and had a good experience? Please share with us below!

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Written by

Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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14 thoughts on “Top 10: Discount Airlines & Budget Flights

  1. There’s a few decent ones in the UK – fiancee and I flew from Glasgow (Scotland) to Warsaw recently. Return was just over £60 each (approx 80 canadian $)

    If you want info on UK budget airlines, drop me an e mail 🙂

  2. Wow! That’s a great price. Which airline did you fly with? Cheers for the comment 🙂

  3. Thanks for the comment Becky! We love EasyJet too but we’ve definitely used Air Asia the most. Too bad they don’t fly to London anymore though!

  4. That time it was with wizz air (they are Hungarian), we flew from Glasgow to Warsaw 🙂

    Other than that, I’d say Easyjet, Ryanair Fly be, jet2 are a few UK ones to look out for. Generally, you can easily get to most of Central / Eastern Europe for not very much from the UK, particularly from London.

  5. Great! Thanks for the tips. Next time we’re in the area (which will be soon), we’ll have to check out some of those other airlines.

    Cheers 🙂

  6. We love AirAsia for cheap flights between Hong Kong and the Philippines. We are flying to El Nido very soon :))))

  7. Awesome!! You guys are going to have so much fun! As you know, we loved our 2 weeks there. Make sure you get out to the surrounding stunning!

    When exactly are you guys going? For how long?!

    Cheers 🙂

  8. I blog quite often and I seriously thank you for your information.
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  9. Just explore online and you’ll never fail to hit achieving your purpose. Profuse travel agencies are taking advantage on the internet. That’s why getting cheap flights is much easier today than before, simply take some time to find promotions to meet your budget by any means.

  10. Among the top 10 discount airlines budget flights in your list Air Asia and Cebu Pacific Air are one of the best budget airline I have tried.

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