Europe's Low-Cost Airlines

Hi there!
Well, since the previous post on traveling was so well received, I've decided to write another one. Feel free to check things out from time to time, since there will undoubtedly be more articles on the subject. As the title of the post implies, this new articles will pertain to flights to and within Europe.

As I've mentioned before, the best deals on flight to Europe can be obtained if you have an ISIC card (International Student Card). Check your STA Travel branch or its affiliates in order to get your card. For about 15$, you'll have the chance to save between 100$ and 200$ on your plane ticket alone, and then save a bundle on museums and attractions all over Europe.

If you're not a student and thus don't have access to an ISIC card, the best way to save on your plane ticket to Europe is by playing it smart. When you wish to see multiple cities during your stay, forgo a direct flight and fly with another carrier which stops first in one the cities you wish to visit, and then hop on a connecting flight to your second destination. Let's say you want to see both Paris and Barcelona. Well, instead of flying from New York to Paris on American Airlines, use the services of either Air France or Iberia. By acting thus, you'll fly from your home airport to Paris, stay there for a while, and then fly to Spain with the same ticket. Or fly to Barcelona, and then board a connecting flight to Paris. Your plane ticket will be about the same price as a direct flight from your home airport to either Paris or Barcelona, but you'll get to fly to both cities for about the same amount. No need to take that overnight train to get to Barcelona, because you'll be there in the blink of an eye.

So just do a bit of planning, set a rough itinerary, and you'll be able to save a lot of money that way. Want to see London before going elsewhere, fly on British Airways. Want to stop in Asmterdam, fly on KLM, etc. You get the gist of it.

Once in Europe, everyone seems to think that the trains are the way to go. But the price war wages by all the low-cost airlines can make you save a bundle and travel much faster than by rail. There are two low-cost kings on the old continent at the moment, and they are Ryanair and EasyJet.

Ryanair is often the cheapest airline in the world. But beware, for there are a lot of things that makes that low price less than attractive. First of all, baggage restriction is pretty strict: only 15 kg is allowed. Every kg in excess of that will cost you about 6 euros. That alone can drive up the price of your flight. But Ryanair biggest shortcoming is that the fact that they fly in and out of secondary airports that are always far away from the cities. For example, the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport that serves Ryanair flights is actually 75 miles out of Frankfurt. So be careful before you book. A taxi or a train ride to your destination once you land will have an influence on the "true" price of your plane ticket, making using Ryanair not always convenient. But they offer seats for as low as 1$ and sometimes they're even free. You just add the airport taxes to the bill. For more information on Ryanair, visit their website

EasyJet is a bit more expensive than Ryanair, but it makes for better value. First of all, the 20 kg baggage restriction is more reasonable. And although they mostly fly from secondary airports, those are always relatively close to the cities. The earlier you book, the less you'll pay. Remember that both Ryanair and EasyJet are no-frills airlines, so don't expect food and drinks to be served on board. So if you're flying from London to Athens, better pack a few munchies!;-) Check out their website

There is a multitude of other low-cost airlines all over Europe. Some come and go, so it's best to be careful when you book in advance. The Lonely Planet guides usually list them in the section pertaining to traveling to/from that country.

There are a few search engines that you can use in order to find flight prices and book tickets. It's always a good idea not to rely on a single search engine, and to use a number of them to see what each will come up with. Here are a few you can peruse:,,,,, as well as a number of others.

And always keep an eye on the big carriers, for they always have sales that sometimes makes flying on a no-frills airline unnecessary.

That's about it for now! To those who are planning a trip to Europe, have a great adventure!;-)

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