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Budget Air Travel in Europe

European Budget Air Travel

Budget Air Travel in Europe 2021 Guide


Nowhere else in the world has the advent of low-cost airlines revolutionized travel as much as in Europe. Numerous airlines compete with each other for customers, flying from airports across the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Turkey and Scandinavia. to name just a few, opening up a world of possibilities that were previously unthinkable; family holidays on the beaches of the Costa del Sol; skiing trips to the French Alps; spontaneous city breaks to Baku and Bratislava. Who would’ve thought it?

The ease of finding affordable flights in Europe has radically altered how we plan our trips to that region. When I first began traveling in Europe, no one spent their own money to buy one-way airline tickets within Europe. The cost was simply too high. Today, that type of thinking is very outdated. Before purchasing any long-distance train or bus tickets, you should first check flight prices — you may be surprised by the price and the time savings.

Very competitive discount airlines have made European itinerary planning easier and have turned vagabond travelers into jetsetters. You can fly almost anywhere on the Continent for less than $250 per flight, deciding where to travel is largely a question of following your travel dreams.  You are no longer limited to places that are within a reasonable train ride (or driving) distance. That being said, those are still perfectly acceptable ways of traveling. It is best to examine all possible options before making a decision. It is now possible to enjoy a far-flung vacation from Greece to Portugal to Scotland.


Airlines that have sprung up from the ashes of the former Eastern bloc carriers have found enormous success and even a spiritual successor in their quest for cheap flights and cheap holidays. Their success has been driven by a number of strategies the most important of which is offering flights across borders for much cheaper prices than their domestic competitors.

The biggest success of the cheap flight’s revolution is the fact that the European holiday market has become so wide open and the fact that so many airlines have come up with a number of ideas that make flying as cheap as possible.

For instance, there are low-cost carriers, such as Easyjet, Ryanair, and Vueling that have found success by giving travelers a very cheap deal. They have taken the basic model of a full-service airline with lounges and food and beverages but made every flight a head-to-head flight against a ticketing system that shows the price of all flights instead of just the first segment of the route taken. This means that a traveler can fly from Dublin to Munich and pay the same as a visitor that flies from Munich to Dublin.

Such systems are not new, German carriers Vueling and Easy Jet have been operating for a number of years and both companies claim to have over one million passengers a month using the system. However, the difference between the price of flights booked on Easy Jet and Easy Jet-owned competitor Ryanair is night and day.

Another strategy employed by many budget carriers is the introduction of limited period fares. This is a great way to keep airfares low and to ensure that flights are sold as seats are available. This can be done through special promotional rates that are available for a limited time or the use of stand-by flights.

Stand-by flights make the fare system work by letting the carrier book the air ticket from where it is stand-by. This is a great way to fill the empty seats in an aircraft. But what happens if the aircraft is full? It is possible for a flight to be sold as sold but empty seats remain and are given the special discounted rate. Such a flight is likely to be from an airport served by more than one airline. One way to avoid such problems is having multiple airlines serving a single route.

Another strategy that a number of budget carriers have used to get so far is to offer flights from an airport serving multiple airlines. This has the advantage of giving maximum flexibility to the traveler in terms of timing and route. The downside is that it can be a problem in terms of security, as there is no guarantee that only one airline will be serving each airport.

The main way to guarantee that you get the cheapest flight is to book as far in advance as possible. Early booking is always cheaper than later booking because of the costs of delays and cancellations. But you can still get a cheap flight if you book from a secondary airport serving several airlines. This will ensure you get the best deal possible because of competition. The cost of a cheap airline ticket can also vary depending on where you are traveling to and from, how much you pay for the ticket, and also which airport you are flying from.

As a further tip, you can always try to travel on days that are busier than other days. So, if you can save on your airfare, then you can take more cash and spend it where it is better spent. Remember, that you must make sure that you know all the terms and conditions of the ticket before you pay for it.

Cheap Flights within Europe

The following are some of the affordable airlines that cover a lot of the European skies, as well as their major hubs. To find out more, visit Skyscanner, or check out Google for “cheap flights” plus the cities you’d like to fly to/from. New airlines pop up and old ones close all the time.

Airline Main Hubs
Aer Lingus Dublin, Shannon
AirBaltic Riga
Air Italy Milan
Blue Air Bucharest
CityJet London (London City)
Condor Frankfurt
EasyJet London (Gatwick, Stansted, Luton), Milan, Berlin, Paris (Charles de Gaulle, Orly), and more
Flybe Birmingham, Manchester
Eurowings Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg
Icelandair Reykjavík
Norwegian Oslo, London (Gatwick)
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul
Ryanair London (Stansted), Dublin, and several other cities
SmartWings Prague
Transavia Amsterdam, Paris (Orly)
Vueling Barcelona, Rome
Widerøe Oslo, Bergen
Wizz Air Budapest

Cheap Flights From The United States To Europe


Europe’s biggest low-cost year-round airlines are Ryanair and Easyjet. Both airlines operate hundreds of routes in more than 30 countries. These fly across both North America and Europe. They provide a combination of affordable travel and on-time departures.

In the United States, the carriers are based in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Orlando, Florida among others. Ryanair currently flies from New York’s JFK airport. Easyjet operates from Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle and Las Vegas, while it’s based in the Irish capital Dublin.

They both offer a wide range of flight options to suit most needs. easyJet’s flights depart from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and North America. Ryanair also provides transatlantic flights to the United Kingdom.


Low-cost airlines offer a combination of fuel-saving engines, fuel-efficient fleets, in-flight food and beverages, and high-quality service. It’s one of the only cases where price plays a major role when buying tickets.

While on one hand, they provide the cheapest flight fare on several of their routes, they offer a range of flight options on most routes to match the needs of most passengers to make your flight more enjoyable through different upgrades.

They’ve recently launched Ryanair Check in which if you’ve used their flight to any destination, the airlines will check your ticket for free.

They also offer an Early Bird offer that guarantees a seat on any flight of your choice between Monday and Friday for a year, or until the end of the month. This is a great promotion for travel plans who are planning to travel during the hottest travel seasons. Ryanair airlines have a range of routes to popular destinations such as Majorca, Bora Bora, Majorca, Krakow, Krakow and Split. All have flights to major destinations across the world.

Flights to the United Kingdom are provided by the national airline of Ireland, Aer Lingus, and they are based in Dublin airport. There are flights to London, Bristol, Exmouth, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, and Stornoway.

Seasonally other airlines such as Condor Air, Eurowings

budget air travel

What’s the downside of Budget Airlines?

Saving on budget airfares can come with potential pitfalls. Budget tickets are rarely refundable or exchangeable. Many airlines operate exclusively online, so it can be challenging to contact a customer service representative in case of problems. 

Flights are often closely organized to squeeze more flying time from each plane, which can exaggerate the impact of delays. If you are instructed to arrive at the check-in counter an hour before the flight and show up with a half-hour to spare, you have just missed your flight. Also, it is not uncommon for budget carriers to cancel a slow-selling route or go out of business, leaving you scrambling to find a viable alternative.

Because budget airlines do not make much money from your ticket, they look for other ways to increase their earnings — bombarding you with advertisements every step of the way, via advertising in e-mails, in planes, onboard food and drinks that are not included, and charging outrageous fees. For instance, you could be penalized for paying with a credit card (when there is no other option), checking in and printing your boarding pass at the airport, “priority boarding” ahead of the pack, bringing an infant along, and — of course— checking bags. The initial fare shown on the website can seem low at first glance. Once you begin the checkout process, each step seems to involve an additional charge.

Checking bags is not free. For many budget airlines, the price per bag increases as you get closer to your departure date. You might be charged an extra fee for checking a bag over a certain (relatively low) weight limit. You should not assume that all luggage qualifies as carry-on in Europe; many budget carriers have smaller dimensions than other carriers. Before booking, make sure you understand the baggage policy carefully.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the cheapest place in Europe to fly into?

It is a common question and an important consideration for all travelers. Is it still possible to find the cheapest place to fly into? Is there any difference in prices for flights into Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and London? I find that flights to Frankfurt are cheaper generally.

How can I get to Europe cheap?

Well, it all begins with the question of how can I get to Europe cheap. If you look at the cost of getting to Europe from US cities it is usually very expensive with the exception of Miami, New York, and Boston which tend to be the cheapest destinations if you are looking to save money. The problem with these destinations is that they are so large that it may take a little planning and research to find a flight that will fit into your budget. This is where online travel sites like Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia and Google come in handy; once you decide the dates of your travel, you can go to a travel search engine and search through many sites and find the best deal to fit your budget.

Which is better, Ryanair or EasyJet?

There are many comparisons of the two airlines and they should be compared on a level field. We should not forget that each airline is a business and has its own interests. The two airlines try to offer a good service all around the world and both offer cheap flights as well.

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Budget Air Travel in Europe
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Budget Air Travel in Europe
Nowhere else in the world has the advent of low-cost airlines revolutionized travel as much as in Europe. Numerous airlines compete with each other for custom…
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European Travel Blog
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