Keep your butt safe in the air.
Budget airlines have been exploding on the scene in the past decade, using the “add-everything-to-a-basic-fare” type of business model. While some staple budget airlines have been operating for years in Europe and Southeast Asia, others in the U.S. and elsewhere are having some difficulty keeping up with the safety standards of other airlines while maintaining their budget-friendly fares.
Don’t fly Allegiant.
Allegiant Airlines famously flies passengers around the U.S. from hundreds of cities to sunny destinations in the southern states from $35 each way. That’s a great value to passengers if the airline can produce a satisfactory experience and keep its passengers safe, both of which seem to be an issue for Allegiant. The airline recently came under fire by 60 Minutes who just ran an episode detailing an 8-month investigation into incidents by the airline. It appears that Allegiant has a rate of incidence of midair breakdown 3.5 times that of Delta, United, American, Spirit or JetBlue. Though I have previously recommended Allegiant for their budget fares between Kansas City and destinations in Florida, I will be refraining from doing so for the time being.
Check the airline’s safety ratings.
If you’re unsure of an airlines safety you can check this site, which rates nearly every airline operating in the world according to some strict guidelines. The system is based on 7 stars which represent 5 categories including if the airline is fatality free and FAA approved. You’ll likely need to dig a little deeper to understand the reasoning for the overall rating which you can easily do by clicking on the “safety rating breakdown” on the airline’s page. You can also use this rating tool to compare the safety rating of any airlines.
The best budget airlines.
Not all budget airlines are created equal and a few even out-perform the big guys including my favorite airline in the world, ranked the World’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul and Europe’s Best Low-Cost airline three years running, Norwegian. This airline is proof that you can charge $99 for a trans-Atlantic flight and still provide a high quality experience and top notch safety to passengers. Other top budget airlines are jetBlue and Virgin America in North America; easyJet, Eurowings, Ryanair and Vueling in Europe; and AirAsia, Jetstar and Scoot in Southeast Asia/Australia.
Norwegian flights included trip to Ireland: 5 days | 3 cities | $1,235
Destinations in Europe: Discovery Map
Destinations in Australia & NZ: Discovery Map
Destinations in Southeast Asia: Discovery Map