Flying Under the Radar: the World’s Best Budget Airlines

By Ingrid K. Williams Travel + Leisure

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.

In most cases, 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.