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.
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.
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 farecompare.com. 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 Expedia.com or Expedia.ca, it’s where we’ve found the cheapest flights.
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!