A new study has analysed over 1.5 million economy-class prices from 200 airlines to find the world’s cheapest carriers.
The research, by travel planning platform Rome2rio, found that Middle Eastern and Asian airlines provide best value for travellers.
A staggering 24 of this year’s top 30 international airlines are based in Asia or the Middle East, with AirAsia X, Air India Express and Indonesia AirAsia making up the top three.
It might come as a surprise to some that European carriers are among the world’s most expensive.
Ryanair was named best for European travel overall. Despite an average price increase, it is still the best value airline in the region, and ranked number seven in the list.
“British travellers seeking the best value for money may need to forgo any loyalty they may have to particular airlines and investigate new or charter airlines to secure the best price,” Rome2rio boss Kirsteene Phelan said.
Primera Air was ranked top for Transatlantic travel and came in fourth place overall. When it comes to budget flights to the US, Primera was well ahead of newcomer WOW Air and Virgin Atlantic.
If you’re travelling to Australia, Phelan warned that prices can vary wildly.
“Although Qantas, at number eight, ranks highly for value, we are often seeing travellers from the UK to Asia and Australia booking with carriers such as Etihad (sixth), Royal Brunei Airlines (19th), China Southern (20th) and Emirates (25th).
“This suggests that whilst overall value may be high for one airline over another, specific route pricing can vary greatly and travellers need to be vigilant for deals to ensure the best price to their destination.”
She said now more than ever, people were voting with their wallets. “There has never been more choice in how holidaymakers can travel to their destination.
“As flight prices look set to continue increasing, balancing your holiday budget with the experience of travelling becomes a key booking motivation.
“Paying less for a seat may mean travelling without luggage or being left with a middle seat on a long-haul flight.
“Travellers are increasingly being asked what price they will put on comfort and convenience.”
Phelan noted that airlines are reducing perks and cutting corners in order to keep prices down. “Since our 2016 report, we have seen some significant shifts in pricing and ranking.
“Airlines who have ventured into the budget scene – such as British Airways and those such as Norwegian who have a reputation as budget stars – need to pass on higher fuel and operational costs to the customer.
“Sadly, the romance of air travel, whilst not dead, is certainly waning, with more airlines tipped to scale back their inflight offerings in favour of pay-to-play service to help boost profits.
“We anticipate those seeking to enjoy their journey will look for other options including rail to boost their travel experience,” she said.
Ryanair has just announced it is cutting its check-in window from four days to 48 hours.
The change will come effect just before the peak summer period, when many thousands of Brits head abroad for some sunshine.
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