Fifteen minutes from check-in to gate sounds far-fetched, but it’s already a reality for travelers who fly Peach, a new Japanese low-cost carrier that operates from its own terminal at Osaka’s International Airport.
Cost-conscious fliers already know about Europe’s biggest budget airlines, easyJet and Ryanair. But as low-cost carriers like Peach continue to proliferate around the globe, it’s become increasingly easy to nab cheap fares on short-haul flights in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. We’ve rounded up some of the best low-cost carriers—worthy of becoming household names.
South Africa–based Mango airline, for instance, not only offers low fares but also prioritizes customers’ in-flight experience. Its updated seats come with three extra inches of legroom, and passengers can check a bag for free. WestJet, a Canadian low-cost carrier, keeps fliers entertained with live satellite TV.
Norwegian has long offered free Wi-Fi on most flights and, in 2013, became the first budget carrier in Europe to offer long-haul transatlantic flights on new Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The fleet is equipped with larger overhead bins and entertainment systems that also take orders for snacks and drinks—an amenity that will be much appreciated by fliers on the new Copenhagen to Orlando route.
In most cases, however, booking a low-cost fare still means bracing for a barrage of add-on fees. Consider that the fare quoted on a search engine like Skyscanner or the airline’s own website usually doesn’t include hidden charges for paying with a credit card, choosing a seat, or checking a bag. Many budget carriers enforce strict carry-on luggage restrictions, so even light packers must ensure bags are the correct size and weight to avoid hefty penalty fees.
Still, these can be small concessions when you’re flying Vueling from Barcelona to Rome for $42. Find out which budget carrier to book on your next trip.