What’s Your Favourite Budget Airline?

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I just read that Norwegian has been named the best low-cost carrier in Europe at the APEX Passenger Choice Awards and it got me wondering what my own favourite budget airline is – and, more importantly, how InsideFlyer readers rank the various low-cost options!

For a bit of context, the APEX Passenger Choice Awards winners are voted for directly by passengers and take into account factors such as seat comfort, cabin service, food and beverage, entertainment, and Wi-Fi. More specifically,

“Using a five-star scale, more than one million flights were rated by passengers across nearly 500 airlines from around the world between 1 July 2017 and 31 June 2018. First, passengers rated their overall flight experience from one to five stars. On the same screen, passengers were given the opportunity to provide anonymous ratings in five subcategories: seat comfort, cabin service, food and beverage, entertainment, and Wi-Fi. The single screen rating allows airline passengers to easily rate their flight in less than 15 seconds. The Passenger Choice Awards were independently certified by a professional external auditing company hired by APEX.”

Bjorn Kjos, Chief Executive Officer at Norwegian said: “It is truly an honour to receive such recognition from our passengers who value not only the excellent service, product and network that Norwegian offers but also the benefits such as free Wi-Fi that put us ahead of the competition. We would like to thank everybody who voted for us and for choosing to fly Norwegian. We will continue to innovate and invest in our passenger journey to provide an industry leading benchmark for others to follow.”

What is your favourite budget airline?

It may sound like a simple question, but I’m actually struggling to come up with a firm answer.

In general, all I really want from a low-cost carrier on a short haul flight is a good price, convenient flight time from an airport near me, basic cleanliness, and the flight arriving roughly on time.

Convenience and price are my major considerations, but some budget carriers do things that really annoy me (Ryanair’s current carry on bag policy being a good example) and that should definitely count against them. Other low-cost airlines provide small things that I appreciate – internet on Norwegian, being able to buy a half bottle of champagne on EasyJet at a reasonable price, etc.

So, although I still fly with Ryanair more than any other airline, I don’t think it would be right to describe them as my favourite budget airline…

What do you think? If we broaden the options to include carriers outside Europe too, I think I’d  probably go with US-based JetBlue.


  1. Rob says

    It has to be Jet2. There is something about the Northern charm. Sometimes it does feel a bit like Blackpool in the sky but I like it for some reason. Also great space for hand luggage.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Haha, yeah I know what you mean. Plane was showing its age a bit last time I flew with them though.

  2. Ben Lloyd says

    When I pay bus fare, I expect a bus service. Ryanair never fails to deliver, but the new luggage policy has jaded me somewhat. Wizz Air is pretty good, but it means leaving from the hellhole that is Luton – definitely not convenient.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Exactly – until the luggage mess I was a pretty big fan. I don’t think I’ve ever actually tried Wizz (can’t say I’m in a huge rush to go to Luton again though!).

    • Richard says

      Fair enough about Luton – though according to Wizz’s destination map they also fly from over half a dozen airports around the UK. To be honest, from most of those airports Wizz seems only to fly to one or two destinations. However, you can fly direct to a somewhat wider and interesting range of Eastern European destinations from Doncaster/Sheffield and Liverpool; and direct to Budapest from Glasgow, Birmingham and London Gatwick. Some great prices for LGW-BUD right now – around £24.99 each way. So, nothing like the coverage that Ryanair has, but some good value to be had in there for certain destinations.

  3. JM says

    +1 for Jet2. It doesn’t pretend to be anything other than low cost, but runs fairly efficiently and the customer service is pretty much the polar opposite of Ryanair’s two-fingered salute to any problem.

  4. Brian says

    Ryanair has such a huge operation across Europe that they are hard to avoid. Predominantly, my European travel has been from the North of England to Ireland and Italy, all Ryanair strongholds. For flights of this length, a non-stop beats a connection every time.

    Ryanair’s flip-flop baggage policies are annoying, but they are trying to balance handling costs and turnaround times. At least Ryanair passengers can choose to travel light, drag things onto the plane or check them in, choice is good.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Completely agree – the convenience for me to fly direct from Leeds or Manchester is a massive factor.

      The policy changes and the way they were communicated were really annoying. Choice is usually good, but where it creates unnecessary complexity I’m not sure that’s true. The old system worked fine, as long as people were prepared to have their bag under the seat in front of them if required (which about 90% of the time on Ryanair is what I did. I’m about 6 ft, and while it wasn’t ideal, it was fine).

  5. Jim says

    I’ve been very impressed with EasyJet (price) and Jet 2 (convenience). Ryanair unfortunately now have too many add ons especially for families.

  6. Maxine Chivers says

    Easy Jet has taken me to lots of places in Europe and even over to Egypt. I discovered Norwegian Air last year and went on it again this year twice. It is a top quality budget airline. It has personal screens and enough leg room.

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