Use Budget Airlines from Regional Airports to Save Money on Flights
At the turn of the century, in the year 2000, we would spend hours online searching airline and travel websites for cheap flight tickets; only to find that the cheapest airline seat was just a phone call away – if you avidly read the advertising section in the Sunday newspaper travel supplements – and not available online at all.
In the world of cheap airline travel and online flight reservations, ten years is a very long time.
Some airlines have permanently landed while others have taken off with new logos, to become famous brand names in their own right; most notably, the Budget Airlines.
If you subscribe to the TravelNotes Associated Content, you will already know how to save money and fly cheaper with official airline fare alerts; how to snag the best deals on international flights; and how to land yourself an increase in air miles with frequent flyer programs.
Now we’re going to look at the budget airlines.
To get the best deal on the low-cost airlines, it helps if you can be flexible with your travel dates and know which regional airports the various budget airlines fly to.
While the flight prices might appear cheaper than regular airlines, once you’ve added taxes and other extras; including transportation costs from a smaller airport to the major cities, you might end up out of pocket.
As always, it pays to keep an eye on the airline website for the cheaper than cheap, special promotions. If you are flexible enough, you might be pleasantly surprised and find yourself flying to somewhere you hadn’t really thought about.
1time Airline: (South Africa)
Flies from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban, East London, George, Port Elizabeth, Livingston (Zambia), Maputo (Mozambique) and Zanzibar (Tanzania).
Aegean Airlines: (Greece)
Check-in for cheap flights to and around Greece.
Aer Arann: (Ireland)
Aer Arann operates over 600 flights per week, across 40 routes in Ireland to the UK and Northern France.
Aer Lingus: (Ireland)
Web offers from Ireland.
Aigle Azur: (France to North Africa)
Operating out of seven French airports, Aigle Azur flies to Algeria, Mali, Morocco, Portugal, and Tunisia.
Air Arabia: (Sharjah, UAE)
Leading low cost carrier covering the Middle East and North Africa.
Air Baltic: (Baltic States)
Operates flights out of three capitals: Riga (Latvia), Vilnius (Lithuania) and Tallinn (Estonia).
Air Berlin: (Germany)
Flies to 163 destinations in 39 countries via its Berlin, Dusseldorf and Palma de Majorca hubs.
Air Do: (Japan)
Hokkaido International Airlines. Unfortunately, if you don’t read Japanese you need to phone the reservation centre.
Air Europa: (Palma de Mallorca)
Flying around most of Spain along with other destinations in Europe and North Africa; transatlantic to Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, USA and Venezuela; and to Beijing and Shanghai, in China.
Air India Express: (India)
Flies to 13 international destinations: Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Bahrain, Columbo Dhaka, Doha, Dubai, KualaLumpur, Kuwait, Muscat, Salalah, Sharjah, and Singapore rom 12 Indian cities: Amritsar, Chennai, Jaipur, Kochi, KKolkata, ozhikode, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Thiruvananthpuram, and Tiruchirapally.
Connecting the main Italian airports with North-East Brazil (Fortaleza, Maceio, Natal, Salvador de Bahia), Cuba, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Zanzibar, as well as Egypt and the Mediterranean countries.
Air Méditerranée: (France)
Flights depart from Lourdes, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Paris, and Toulouse.
Air New Zealand.
Air Southwest: (United Kingdom)
Flying from Newquay and Plymouth to Bristol, Cardiff, Cork, Dublin, Glasgow, Guernsey, Jersey, Leeds and Manchester.
Air Transat: (Canada)
Montreal-based. Operates mainly in Canada and Europe.
Since 2001, AirAsia has expanded its route network through more than 20 countries with a vision of being the largest low cost airline in Asia; together with its associate companies, AirAsia X, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia.
Airblue now offers flights to five international destinations: UAE airports Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, as well as Muscat, Oman and Manchester, UK.
Alaska Airlines: (Horizon Air)
From its strong position on the West Coast, with scheduled service to Mexico and Russia, the smiling Eskimo went on to establish footholds in major East Coast and Midwestern cities, and now flies across the Pacific Ocean to Hawai’i.
A Turkish Airlines brand aimed at airline passengers seking a simplified and minimised service for a cheaper price.
Dutch charter airline especially good for flights from Amsterdam to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
Established in 2001, this has become an attractive alternative to travelling across Turkey by bus.
Connecting the Channel Islands with England and France.
Avianca Brazil: (Formerly OceanAir – Brazil)
Flies to nineteen destinations around Brazil from its base in São Paulo.
Beginning with flights to Sochi in 2009, Avianova aims to bring the benefits of low cost air travel to the Russian Federation.
Avro: (Monarch – UK charter)
Offers a broad range of charter seat availability, duration and prices with flights to some 40 destinations from ten UK airports.
Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras was launched in 2008 by Brazilian-born, JetBlue founder, David Neeleman.
The best deals seem to be from Geneva to Nice, Bordeaux and Toulouse.
Batavia Air: (Indonesia)
Based in Jakarta, Batavia operates on some 30 domestic routes; with international services to Singapore, China and Malaysia.
Belle Air: (Albania)
Connecting Tirana with 18 Italian destinations; along with flights to Pristina (Kosovo) and Liege (Belgium).
The only low-cost airline based in Rome’s Fiumicino airport. Good for flights to the Greek islands.
The second largest airline in Finland, Blue1 operates on domestic routes within Finland and through Scandinavia to the rest of Europe.
Launched in 2004 as the first Romanian airline company with 100% private equity and now flies to over 20 destinations.
Bmibaby: (United Kingdom)
Launched in 2002, bmibaby flies from four UK bases: East Midlands, Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff to 34 European destinations.
Brussels Airlines: (Belgium)
The result of an alliance between SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express in 2005, the brand now connects the ‘Capital of Europe’ to some 70 European and African airports.
Bulgaria Air: (Bulgaria)
Operates regular flights from Varna and Sofia to 28 major destinations in Europe and the Middle East.
Cathay Pacific: (Hong Kong)
Not primarily a low-cost airline, Cathay Pacific do have some good fare deals from London to Asia.
Cebu Pacific: (Philippines)
Cebu Pacific is Asia’s 3rd largest low-cost airline, flying to 33 domestic and 16 international destinations.
Cimber Sterling: (Denmark)
Cimber Sterling aims to be the preferred airline in Denmark for leisure passengers and offer the most leisure destinations out of Denmark, at a reasonable price.
Condor: (Frankfurt, Germany)
We’ve come a long way since the original name of Deutsche Flugdienst GmbH (back in 1955). In 2002 the airlines took to the skies as ‘Thomas Cook powered by Condor’ and by 2004 the Condor brand name took off on its own; with discount prices on long-haul flights and deeply discounted introductory prices for European destinations, starting at 29 Euros.
Corendon: (Netherlands and Belgium)
On the basis of its success as a Turkey specialist, Corendon now offers affordable organised tours to Crete, Egypt, Bulgaria and Tunisia.
Born in Corsica as Corse Air International, the company was taken over by French tour operator Nouvelles Frontières, who were in turn acquired by TUI (Touristik Union International) in the year 2000. Good deals (around €430 return) on flights from Paris Orly to Montreal, Saint Martin, Fort de France and Point-à-Pitre. A little more (€630) for return flights to the Indian Ocean (La Réunion and Mayotte).
Danube Wings: (Bratislava, Slovakia)
Connecting Slovakia with Croatia; Sicily and Sardinia (via Bologna and Milan).
Save big with the ‘Weekly Web Fare Specials’.
This is the place to go if you’re looking to fly around Colombia.
EasyJet: (Luton, England)
Founded by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou in 1995, Europe’s leading low-cost airline now flies to over 100 destinations in 29 countries; turning the continent orange.
Estonian Air: (Estonia)
Estonia’s national carrier was founded on 1st December, 1991. As it’s part-owned by Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), the regional airline feeds into the SAS network via Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen.
Although specialising in the domestic market, schedules are harmonised with Finnair to ensure good connections between Finnish domestic routes and international destinations.
Launched in 2007, Firefly provides connections to various points within Malaysia, Southern Thailand, Singapore and Sumatra (Indonesia).
Fly540: (Nairobi, Kenya)
Dubbed ‘Africa’s low-cost airline’, the company started operations between Nairobi and Mombasa in November, 2006. Now serving neighbouring East African countries, it is hoped that hubs in Angola and Ghana will eventually make it a truly, pan-African low-cost airline.
Started as Jersey European Airways
Flies to Abha, Aleppo, Alexandria, Amman, Ashgabat, Assiut, Bahrain, Baku, Beirut, Colombo, Damascus, Djibouti, Doha, Erbil, Istanbul, Kabul, Karachi, Kathmandu, Khartoum, Kuwait, Latakia, Lucknow, Luxor, Muscat, Samara, Sulaimaniyah, Yekaterinburg and Yerevan.
Flyonair: (Pescara, Italy)
Fly from Abruzzo (Pescara) to Brussels, Bucharest, Catania (Sicily), Crete, Kiev, Lviv, Paris or Prague – ‘the sooner you book, the cheaper you pay’.
FlyThomasCook: (United Kingdom)
Created in 2004 to make it easy for people to find and book Thomas Cook Airlines flights online at low prices, or as they like to proclaim: ‘Little fares from the big travel company’.
Frontier Airlines: (Denver, Colorado)
Offers routes to more than 50 destinations in the U.S., Mexico and Costa Rica.
Germania Airline: (Germany)
From Berlin-Tegel and Düsseldorf, Germania Fluggesellschaft offers scheduled flights to Turkey, Kosovo Syria and Lebanon, especially for the guest workers living in Germany. Flights to northern Iraq leave from Munich, while sunseekers can head to the Canary Islands from Bremen and Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden.
German Sky Airlines: (Germany)
Flying from more than 26 German airports – as well as Amsterdam, Basel, Eindhoven, Maastricht, and Vienna – to Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman, and Istanbul in Turkey.
Based in Cologne/Bonn, the first Germanwings Airbus took to the skies in October 2002. Germanwings now flies to 75 destinations throughout Europe and has regular special offers.
Launched in November 2005, GoAir is currently flying to Ahmedabad, Bagdogra, Bengalooru, Chandigarh, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Jaipur, Jammu, Leh, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nanded, Patna, Pune and Srinagar.
The route network is among the best serving customers travelling to, from and within Brazil with airfares often comparable to the price of a long-distance bus ticket.
Offers lowcost flights between Visby and Stockholm – Bromma airport.
Voted ‘Best European Charter Airline 2010’ by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Founded in 2006, Hellenic Imperial Airways will be connecting Greece with non-stop scheduled flights to and from USA (New York, Chicago), Syria (Damascus), Romania (Bucharest), U.A.E (Dubai), Morocco (Casablanca), Saudi Arabia (Jeddah), United Kingdom (London, Birmingham), Switzerland (Geneva), Canada (Toronto, Montreal) and France (Lyon, Marseille). The airline also connects Athens with Thessalonica, Heraklion and Rhodes.
Switzerland is not the first place to look for budget flights, unless you’re flying in on a ski charter. Flights currently operate from Zurich to Bari, Brindisi, Rostock, Cardiff and Inverness; with weekly flights to Shannon operational from May 2011.
Iceland Express: (Iceland)
Iceland’s low fare option connects the Icelandic capital of Reykjavík with 18 airports in Scandinavia, England, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Italy and Poland.
Serves 25 cities within India with 237 daily flights.
Operating out of Mexico City and Toluca to 24 destinations around Mexico.
Although based in Bregenz, Austria scheduled flights take off from nearby Friedrichshafen, just around Lake Contance (Bodensee) in Germany, to Berlin, Corsica, Croaria, Dusseldorf, Elba, Graz, Hamburg, Menorca, Münster, Naples, Sardinia and Vienna.
ItAli Airlines: (Italy)
Operates flights from Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino International Airport to Genoa, Reggio Calabria and Paris (Charles de Gaulle) and from Milan (Linate) to Reggio Calabria (from just 29 Euros).
Jazeera Airways: (Kuwait)
Flying to eighteen destinations in eleven countries around the Middle East; including Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan – but not Israel.
Jet2: (United Kingdom)
Expanding from a daily Leeds Bradford to Amsterdam flight, you can now get friendly low fares to over 50 European destinations from eight UK bases.
Connecting destinations in Morocco with Barcelona, Bologna, Brussels, Geneva, Milan, Venice and six airports around France. If scheduled flights from Geneva to Barcelona are too expensive on Swiss or Iberia, you could (theoretically) fly from Geneva to Casablanca for €14 and Casablanca to Barcelona for €7; making it €21 for Geneva to Barcelona, with some Casablanca sightseeing thrown in for free. If only there were no airport taxes and fuel surcharges added on to that.
The Belgian branch of TUI Travel. The ‘from’ prices advertised may be hard to find on a convenient date though, unless you’re thinking about many months in advance. Also note that all electronic payments made through the website have an additional charge of €15 per booking.
Founder David Neeleman originally hoped to ‘bring humanity back to air travel’. Although JetBlue Airways now flies to some 60 destinations in 11 countries connecting flights route through Boston or New York (JFK).
Over 110 daily flights connecting 30 domestic cities with one international city (Kathmandu).
Owned by Qantas and Singapore-based partners, Jetstar is Australia’s and Singapore’s low fares airline for Australia and the Asia-Pacific.
Jin Air: (South Korea)
In October 2009, Jin Air began flights to Macau, Guam and Bangkok. Clark (Philippines) has been added to the schedule and there are plans to expand into Japan and China.
Concentrates on connections with Turkey, although there are also flights from Amsterdam to Bosnia, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Offers low cost airfares between Stockholm/Bromma and Ängelholm.
Flying the flag for Chile since 1929.
Lion Air: (Indonesia)
Since taking to the skies with one aircraft in 2000, Lion Air now flies to more than 36 cities in Indonesia; and internationally to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.
The Hungarian national carrier operates scheduled flights to 50 cities in 35 countries. Malév offers the most direct destinations from Budapest and if you plan well in advance you can find some attractive fares.
Mandala Airlines: (Indonesia)
Flights throughout Indonesia and on to Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.
Mango: (South Africa)
Operates domestic scheduled budget services from Johannesburg and Cape Town to Durban and Bloemfontein.
Meridiana Fly: (Italy)
The second largest airline company in Italy is the result of a merger between Eurofly and Meridiana. The widest selection of flights depart from Milan, Bologna and Verona; although London routes to Florence and New York pairs up with Naples and Palermo.
Mihin Lanka: (Sri Lanka)
Commenced operations on 24th April, 2007 flying to Dubai; with a view to expand low cost air transportation to the travelling public on flights to India, the Middle East, and other regions.
Nasair: (Saudi Arabia)
Since its launch in February, 2007 the airline now flies to more than 30 domestic and international destinations, with over 450 flights per week.
Nok Air: (Thailand)
Fly from Bangkok to destinations around Thailand, for prices that will make you smile.
The second largest airline in Scandinavia, with a route portfolio that stretches across Europe into North Africa and the Middle East.
Onur Air: (Turkey)
The largest private airline company in Turkey operates flights to 80 destinations in 20 countries and 12 destinations domestically.
For special deals on holidays to Lanzarote and Teneriffe, from Bournemouth.
Paramount Airways: (India)
For air travellers in India wishing to visit Agartala, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Madurai, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram, Trichy, and Visakhapatnam.
Domestic flights to Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Izmir, Kayseri, Malatya, Mardin, Samsun, Trabzon and Van. International flights to Amsterdam, Athens, Basel, Berlin, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, Cologne, Frankfurt, Krasnodar, London, Marseille, Milano, Munich, North Cyprus (Ercan), Paris, Rome, St. Etienne, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Vienna and Zurich – from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport.
Qatar Airways: (Qatar)
Fly to more than 90 destinations worldwide through the Doha hub.
Ryanair: (Ireland, UK and Europe)
Ryanair operates more than 1,400 flights per day from 44 bases; with over 1,000 low fare routes connecting 160 destinations within 27 countries.
S7 Airlines: (Russia)
With bases in Moscow (Domodedovo), Novosibirsk (Tolmachevo) and Irkutsk the Sibir Airlines brand has the largest network of internal routes in Russia. S7 Airlines makes regular flights to CIS countries, Europe, Near East, South Asia and countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
The first Russian airline to present itself as a low-cost carrier focusing entirely on domestic flights was established in March, 2006.
From March, 2011 Skyways expands its route network from Sweden (and Copenhagen) to include Bergen, Berlin, Brussels, Stavanger, Sundsvall, and Trondheim.
SmartWings: (Czech Republic)
Located in the heart of Europe, this could be the low-cost airline to choose if you’re flying out of Prague.
Launched in 2007, Snowjet aims to be the ski flight specialist; with flights to Chambery airport (in the French Alps) and Sion airport (Valais, Switzerland).
Southwest Airlines: (USA)
Created with one simple notion: ‘If you get your passengers to their destinations when they want to get there, on time, at the lowest possible fares, and make darn sure they have a good time doing it, people will fly your airline’.
Carrying tourists to Spain from more than 100 European airports.
Aims to become India’s preferred low-cost airline, delivering the lowest air fares with the highest consumer value, to price sensitive consumers. In 2009, Hindustan Times readers voted SpiceJet the best low fare airline; ahead of IndiGo, JetLite, Kingfisher Red and GoAir.
Spirit of Manila: (Philippines)
Offers scheduled international and regional passenger services from Manila/Clark to key Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
Founded in October 1989 as a subsidiary company of Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, SunExpress is the market leader in charter flights between Germany and Turkey as well as being one of the largest scheduled carriers between Europe and southern Turkey.
Thomson Airways: (United Kingdom)
Formally Britannia, Thomson Airways has grown to become the UK’s largest charter airline; flying to more than 80 destinations around the world.
Tiger Airways: (Singapore)
Offers affordable air travel to customers across Asia and Australasia; through Singapore and Perth.
Flies to some 90 destinations in summer and 35 in winter – Canary Islands, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Madeira, Mallorca, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey.
Trawel Fly: (Italy)
Collaborates with international airlines by acquiring their charter capacity, and selling this capacity to foreign and Italian tour operators.
Flies to the classic holiday regions around the Mediterranean, the Canary and Cape Verde Islands, Madeira and Egypt for TUI and other tour operators.
Connects Umeå with Stockholm.
Viking Hellas: (Greece)
Flies scheduled service between Amsterdam, Athens, Baghdad, Erbil, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Malmö, Manchester, Stockholm, and Sulaimaniyah.
Virgin America: (California)
Virgin America serves Boston, Cancun, Chicago (from May 25th, 2011), Dallas-Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Los Cabos, New York, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Washington DC.
Virgin Blue: (Australia)
Virgin Blue took to the skies on 31st August, 2000 and halved the cost of Australian airfares overnight.
Mexico’s low fares airline started operations in November, 2006.
Made its inaugural flight, from Toluca to Tijuana, in 2006.
Flies to major cities in Spain, Europe and northern Africa from bases in Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Malaga, Seville, and Valencia.
Webjet Linhas Aéreas: (Brazil)
Operates more than 1,000 flights a week to fourteen destinations around Brazil.
Provides scheduled and air charter service to 71 destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Operating since 2003, with the aim of linking Sicily (Palermo and Catania) with the main Italian and European cities.
From its twelve operating bases in Central Europe – Gdansk, Poznan, Katowice, Warsaw and Wroclaw, in Poland; Budapest in Hungary; Sofia in Bulgaria; Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara in Romania; Kiev in Ukraine; and Prague in Czech Republic – Wizz flights can be found on over 150 routes.
XL Airways: (France)
Operates scheduled flights to Egypt, Israel, Senegal, Tunisia and the Caribbean as well as charter flights around the Mediterranean.
Zest Air: (Philippines)
Linking Manila and Cebu with 24 destinations arond the Philippines.
Be sure to read all the terms and conditions if you don’t want to be paying for all the hidden extras.
You can also access the budget airlines widget direct from the Travel Notes toolbar.