The cheapest airlines have been changing with new entrants and mergers. The ranking of the cheapest airlines in specific geography is based on an analytic report by Rome2rio, a Melbourne based company.
This analysis is based on USD per KM, in economy class, without playing the points game. Of course, this could change drastically if you play the points game.
Trends affecting Airfares
In general, airfares have risen because the cost of fuel has risen.
Other trends that affect costs include:
- Longer flight = more expensive
- More rural location = more expensive (E.g. Nepal airlines are very expensive.)
- Type of aircraft flown
- Local salary of people
- Fuel costs
- Ancillary revenue
- Airport landing fees: London’s landing fees are more expensive than its neighbours.
The cheapest airlines are ranked based on cost. These are the cheapest airlines that cost less than US$0.15/km flown. Based on your location and route, you can find the cheapest flights. That being said, you cannot be picky about the service.
Spoiler alert: they usually have terrible service.
- Jetstar: 2 years ago, Tigerair in Asia was the cheapest airline in the world, based on USD per KM. Since its merger with Scoot, it has gotten a lot more expensive. Jetstar is now the cheapest option within Australia. Interestingly, it is also the World’s Worst Airline.
- Virgin Australia: cheapest from Australia to the USA
- Qantas: the Australian based airlines are actively promoting their credit card for users to collect points when you fly with them.
Within the USA
- Spirit Airlines
- Virgin America
- Frontier Airlines
- Jet Airways: Indian based airlines with frequent flights within Asia and from India to the USA.
- WOW Air: cheapest option to fly from Europe to the USA. They also recently opened a route to fly from Iceland to Delhi.
- Primera Air: A new player in low-cost long-haul flights, based in Iceland.
- Norwegian Air: Shocked the world with their Singapore-London low-cost long-haul flights.
- Virgin Atlantic
- Ryanair: Cheapest option to fly within Europe. Take note of the new baggage rule in 2018.
- Pobeda Airlines LLC
- Red Wings
- Aeroflot Russia Airlines: Russian based airlines that fly between Russia and Europe. They also fly to Asia. There is plenty of negative news of losing your bags.
- Pegasus Airlines
These are Middle Eastern airlines. They have an extensive route and competitive cost per kilometre flown.
- Etihad Airways: cheapest option to fly across continents, 5-star airlines, ranked the best airlines by satisfactory from customers.
- Qatar Airways: 5-star airlines
- Oman Air
- Kuwait Airways
- Gulf Air Bahrain
- Royal Brunei Airlines
- Indonesia AirAsia: cheapest option to fly across Southeast Asia
- Air India Express second cheapest within Asia
- AirAsia X: third cheapest within Asia & cheap flights from Australia to Hawaii
- IndiGo Airlines
- Vietjet Air
- Thai Lion Mentari
- Nok Air
Within South America
Flights within South America and Africa can get very expensive. It’s better to take the first-class coach than flying when it comes to the value of money.
- Viva Airlines Peru SAC
In general, there are more long-haul low-cost flights in the airline space, which is good news. Other than cheap airlines, also consider the safety of the plane. Check the aircraft type and accident history if you have never heard of the airline before!
TL;DR: fly with Emirates.