We’ve been hit by a financial crisis, and although some people are beginning to recover and find their footing in this economy, we want to play it safe. We can afford to travel, but as much as possible, we want to keep the expenses down and be open to bargains. We’re learning how to get what we want without spending a fortune for it. It’s amazing how these days, a number of budget airlines are doing just that: letting people travel all over the world, see the sights and savor new experiences without having to empty their wallets.

Today, budget airlines are not just a group of insignificant carriers that you can toss aside; they are a major competitor in the skies and people from all walks of life and classes in society are lining up to for cheap plane tickets. Budget airlines have proven to the market that they too, can guarantee their passengers safe trips across the globe in modern planes that use the latest technology and comfortable seats.

For those who are still putting their vacation plans on hold because of a strict budget, maybe it’s time to start doing new calculations. For those of you who are avid travelers and can’t get enough of the different sights and sounds that the world has to offer, then we have just the thing for you. Here are ten budget airlines that you can choose from depending on your needs, wants and financial means. Go ahead and peruse our list; today might just be the day when you can finally afford to go on that special getaway with your loved one, or take the kids on their first holiday abroad.

VIRGIN AMERICA

How much? A one way ticket to San Francisco from Seattle costs US 69 dollars; a flight from Boston to Los Angeles costs US 149 dollars; and a trip from New York to Los Angeles is US 149 dollars.

Virgin America is an American budget airline based in San Francisco. It also has a secondary hub which is located in Los Angeles. Mainly it offers cheap flights to a number of locations in the Unites States like Boston, San Diego, New York, Las Vegas, Seattle and Washington. Aside from that, they also offer one international flight, which brings passengers to Toronto. Later this year in October, the airline will be adding new flights that will take off from Orlando, Florida and bring travelers to Los Angeles and San Francisco as well.

Passengers who fly with Virgin America may be a bit constrained with their budget, but they definitely won’t feel that way once they take a seat inside the plane. During the flight, passengers can turn on the television and enjoy an episode of Fly Girls, a reality show that features five flight attendants from Virgin America. Depending on the time, the onboard mood lighting adjusts itself automatically so passengers can enjoy a deep indigo cabin and a vibrant violet the next, helping them relax during their trip. The seats are also as comfortable as they come and are covered in black, supple leather. For more entertainment, you can also choose from any of the 20 movies that you can watch on pay per view, or over 300 songs and audio books that can you can listen to. You can also order food if you’re feeling peckish, and best of all, communicate with other passengers with the chat function that lets you have conversations with the person in the other seat.

Just a reminder, the rates posted above are still subject to additional fees and taxes. But considering the bargain that you’re getting, you’ll still be spending less on these airlines than you normally would with other carriers.

JETBLUE AIRWAYS

How much? A one way ticket from New York City to San Jose in California will cost you US 189 dollars; the trip from Fort Lauderdale to San Juan in Puerto Rico costs US 69 dollars; a flight from Orlando to Bogota costs US 119 dollars.

JetBlue’s home base is located at Terminal 5 within John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City. But over the years, it has also established bases in various places in the United States such as Los Angeles; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale. JetBlue’s operations are concentrated in the United States, shuttling passengers back and forth across the country day in and day out, but that isn’t to say that the airline has limited itself to this area alone. All in all, there are over 60 destinations plotted on JetBlue’s routes; and that includes cities located in 15 different countries in the Caribbean and even Latin America.

JetBlue airways made its debut ten years ago, back in year 2000. When it first started, it only offered two flights namely:  New York City going to Buffalo, and New York City going to Fort Lauderdale. Obviously, the airline has made improvements since then. Their network has become larger and more complex, and that’s good news for the people at JetBlue because it means that they are capable of adding more places in their list of destinations that is being offered to passengers. These days, the latest addition to their routes include Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, San Jose in Costa Rica, Bogota in South Colombia, and Montego Bay for those who want to fly to Jamaica.

Surveys show that passengers don’t have a hard time liking JetBlue. For five consecutive years, the airline has managed to claim the highest ranking concerning customer satisfaction among all of the budget airlines in the business. Similar to other airlines, JetBlue’s fleet is composed of modern airplanes that have not only proven to be safe for passengers, but also provide comfortable seating and superior technology. Inside the cabin, passengers also get a number of perks that makes their flight more enjoyable and worth their money. For example, if you want to have your seat upgraded for some extra leg room, the fee won’t feel like it cost as much as your original ticket. But really, if you’re a tall person, there’s no need to worry because their standard seats are actually quite spacious; the leather seats are a nice touch too, and are quite comfortable.

Passengers who are taking the Red Eye are also given complimentary flight kits; inside they will find eye masks and also earplugs so if you want to catch up on some sleep, you can simply drown out the noise and block out the lights. By the time you wake up, you’ll have arrived at your destination feeling refreshed and well rested.

Because JetBlue uses modern airplanes, passengers are able to make use of the advanced technology being offered on board. A flight with JetBlue is far from being boring, not when you keep yourself busy with the onboard entertainment units which offer dozens of channels, 36 to be exact, of Directv. If watching a program is not your thing, you can always just listen to some tunes on the radio as you make your way across the country. Similar to hotels, there are also pay per view movies that you can avail of on board. If you have a kid who’s a bit anxious about flying, watching a nice movie can take his mind off his fear of heights; this way, both you and your child can enjoy your flight together in peace and quiet.

Three years ago, back in December 2007, the airline also made the smart move by offering free e-mail access and also messaging for travelers who had laptops equipped with wireless internet. If you have a BlackBerry with you, feel free to whip it out and check your email for important messages as you sit back and enjoy your flight. This is extremely useful for business travelers who have to keep touch with their clients and superiors; and also for people on a holiday, if they want to send a message to their loved ones back home.

AIR BERLIN

How much? A one way ticket from London to Dusseldorf will cost you US 40 dollars; the ticket from Paris to Vienna is US 37 dollars; and the Berlin to New York flight will set you back US 317 dollars.

As the name suggests, this budget airline is based in Berlin. It doesn’t matter where you wanted to go because chances are, Air Berlin can take you there safe and sound, and without a large price tag. This airline caters to over 150 destinations all over the globe, including major areas in Asia, the Middle East, North America, and Africa. Apart from that, the airline also flies guests to the Caribbean, and over 100 different cities in Europe. By November later this year, the budget airline will also introduce three new routes to Miami, United States; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Mombasa, Kenya. What’s more, these new flights are all non-stop, so you can bet you’ll get there in a shorter amount of time. Early this year in July, Air Berlin struck up a deal and signed on with OneWorld, which hopefully will be beneficial to the company, as it provides an opportunity for them to reach out to more passengers who are looking for a cheaper way to fly. With OneWorld, the airline is linked to a handful of other international and popular carriers such as American Airlines and British Airways; they will also offer services for transatlantic flights for passengers who wish to go to various places in the United States such as San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles.

Air Berlin has been catering to the flying public for over three decades. In fact, it has been operational for 32 solid years, and with the rate that things are going, it looks like they won’t be going under anytime soon. Because of hard work and concern for their passengers, the company has garnered a number of awards that can attest to their efficiency. This year, Air Berlin was given the World Airline Award by Skytrax, which is a group that reviews various airlines and ranks them. Additionally, this is the sixth time that the group has managed to bag the award, which is not bad for an airline who primarily offers budget packages instead of luxury flights for millionaires. Back in 2008, the airline got Skytrax’s Best Cabin Crew Award as well.

For those who are wondering what sets this airline apart from the crowd, here are a couple of things that they offer aside from competitive prices: complimentary snacks and also beverages to each and every passenger on board, newspapers for those who want to keep abreast of the news and current affairs, the option to adjust and also modify your bookings without having to shell out cash for the penalty. The airline has also made use of modern technology to their advantage and the comfort of their passengers. For others who don’t like to fall in line at ticket offices, they can reserve a seat on the plane simply through MMS or what is otherwise known as Multimedia Message Service. Through their mobile phones, passengers can even order their boarding pass.

Air Berlin also scores additional points for families who like to travel together most of the time. If you’re a parent and you can’t stand leaving your child behind while you go frolicking abroad, you can bring your kid along for a special reduced rate. Another perk for parents on board with a child is that you are provided with a number of amenities such as a baby bag complete with a feeding bottle, a bib, and some diapers; some toys to for your kid to play with, and even a nice, cozy cot for your precious baby. Children on board are also served kiddie meals from the menu made especially for children.

KINGFISHER AIRLINES

How much? A one way ticket from Mumbai to Delhi costs US 80 dollars; a ticket from Mumbai to Goa costs US 47 dollars, while the trip from Mumbai to London is US 375 dollars.

Kingfisher Airlines has its primary base in Bangalore, India. Currently, the air line makes numerous trips across the country, connecting people from 69 different cities scattered in the area. Exactly 66 planes make up Kingfisher’s fleet, and with so much demand from Indian travelers, it makes manages to conduct almost 400 flights every single day. Their destinations include places that are popular with tourists such as Mumbai, Goa, Delhi and also Jaipur. Early this year in February, Kingfisher Airlines got approval from the local government to add not one, not two, but seven brand new routes for international flights. The airline announced that pretty soon, they will be offering the flying public journeys from Delhi going to Bangkok, Thailand; Hong Kong; Colombo in Sri Lanka; Dubai in United Arab Emirates; London, United Kingdom. Travelers who wish to go to the Middle East can also choose to avail of their flight to Dubai which will take off from Mumbai.

Kingfisher Airlines has enjoyed a steady rise since it was launched five years ago, back in 2005. Not only to they offer cheap plane tickets, they were also able to lure passengers with their great service, clean facilities and tasty in flight meals. Not only that, passengers also get to fly in modern, hi tech airplanes. Compared to other budget airlines such as IndiGo and SpiceJet, Kingfisher offers lower rates, so it’s no wonder that a lot of passengers decide to fly with them.

The airline was conceived not only to expand the operations of the beer empire from which the airline also got its name, but also to solve the predicament of providing an alternative means of transportation to India’s ever growing population aside from  trains. For decades now, India’s rails have been the top choice if you want to travel. Unfortunately, it is having trouble keeping up with the booming population and the changing economy. More and more people in the country want to travel to far off places, and now they have the financial means to do so. Compared to a long and slow journey by train, passengers can make the trip in less time and better ambiance from inside the cabin of an airplane.

To keep the money rolling in, the airline has also decided to sign an agreement with OneWorld, which will enable them to be linked with the frequent flyer program of two popular airlines namely British Airways and also American Airlines. Kingfisher Airlines also takes into consideration that passengers have different budgets depending on their destination, number of companions, and other factors. With this in mind, travelers can choose from different types of seating namely: low fare, business, or economy.

GOL LINHAS AEREAS INTELIGENTES (INTELLIGENT AIRLINES)

How much? A one way ticket from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo costs US 41 dollars; if you’re flying from Sao Paulo to Belo Horizonte, the ticket will cost US 46 dollars; the Brasilia to Rio de Janeiro trip, on the other hand, is an affordable US 41 dollars.

http://www.voegol.com.br/Paginas/home.aspx has their headquarters in Brazil. This airline offers flights all over the country, and also to other select areas in Latin America. It may be a budget airline, but GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes is the second largest airline that is operating in Brazil today. At second place, it is also the fiercest competition of the country’s number one airline, TAM. It seems that the drive to outdo the competition is also what helps them in finding ways to serve their customers better. The carrier also makes use of Boeing airplanes for its fleet, which gives them another advantage against other carriers by making use of a machine that runs faster than other models by as much as 12 percent. Therefore, they spend a lesser number of hours in the air and are able to get travelers to their destinations in better time.

A lot of passengers are inclined to sign up with this airline because of the extremely low fare that they offer. Aside from that, travelers can avail of food choices from the healthy onboard menu, and the smartly dressed cabin crew is an added perk. The airline has even gone to the extent of tapping the expertise of the country’s famous stylists, Ricardo Almeida and also Gloria Coelho, to create the design for the uniforms that are worn by the airline staff.

The airline has also announced that as part of their expansion in the international market, they will be teaming up with Delta Airlines for a frequent flyer program starting July of next year. With this move, the airlines will have more exposure to American travelers and basically increase their earnings.

NIKI

How much? A ticket from Vienna to Belgrade costs US 37 dollars; the flight from Stockholm to Munich is US 77 dollars, and if you want to fly with Air Berlin, you can get a New York to London flight for US 378 dollars.

Niki is a budget airline whose operations are mainly concentrated in Europe, with its headquarters located in Vienna, Austria. To date, Niki flies to about 21 countries. Their destinations include England, Germany, Spain, France, and also Egypt. Niki is also affiliated with another budget airline, Air Berlin. Through this, Niki is able to expand their business scope and offer flights to more destinations outside Europe such as Canada, United States, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, South Africa, and Maldives. It even conducts flights to countries in the east such as China and Thailand.

Interestingly enough, Niki was founded by a Formula One driver names Niki Lauda. The airline was established seven years ago back in 2003 and has since become a success in the airline business. Lauda wanted to offer the public cheap tickets without compromising most of the luxuries. The tactic they employed was to rely on perks being offered to passengers and eventually turn them into patrons who will keep booking flights their flights with Niki every time they want to go on a holiday or on an important business trip. It turns out that the idea was brilliant because according to the books, Niki’s profits rose by a whopping 75 percent from the year 2008 to 2009. Because of their success, the airline decided to add even more destinations to their routes starting in 2010 so the range choices for passengers became even larger. This time, travelers can check out flights from Vienna going to Copenhagen, Denmark; Nice, France; Barcelona, Catalonia; Belgrade, Serbia; Sofia, Bulgaria; and Bucharest, Romania.

Perks for Niki’s passengers include complimentary snacks such as delicious and hearty sandwiches instead of tiny packs of peanuts, free magazines and newspapers, optional entertainment for free such as movies, television shows, and even nice tunes on the radio station. If you think about it, you enjoy a good meal as you watch a movie while you’re 20,000 feet up in the air, en route to your vacation, and you didn’t even have to part with large sums of money to do it. If you have some cash left over, you can even indulge a little in their store which sells a number of things from earphones, Swarovski jewelry, and even Frisbees. If the hearty sandwich didn’t satisfy your hunger pangs, you can choose to upgrade your food and get a delectable meal of minced veal, or perhaps yummy yellow chicken curry.

AIR ARABIA

How much? A one way ticket from Casablanca to Istanbul is US 90 dollars; the Casablanca to Paris route is US 51 dollars; while the Sharjah to Kathmandu is US 122 dollars.

This low cost carrier has its base over at the United Arab Emirates or UAE. Air Arabia‘s fleet can be found in the Sharjah Airport, which is a quick and easy drive for about 15 minutes when you’re coming from Dubai. The airline offers its passengers different routes that they can choose from depending on where they want to go on business or holiday. Their planes ply the skies to visit various countries in the southern part of Asia, Middle Eastern cities, Africa, and sometimes even all the way to Europe. Air Arabia’s secondary hub is located in Morocco, specifically in Casablanca, where they cater to passengers who wish to travel to Europe. All in all, a dozen European cities are plotted on their maps, which is ideal for passengers with multiple destinations in mind. Despite being a budget airline, Air Arabia is actually growing and improving year by year. They even have a third base, which is located in the deserts of Egypt specifically in Alexandria. From there, the airline offers flights to five additional destinations in the Middle East and also Africa.

Air Arabia first started out seven years ago, back in 2003. It was the first ever budget airline that offered flights to different places in the Middle East and Africa’s northern region. Admittedly, it’s still a baby compared to other major airlines who have been servicing passengers for decades, but it’s definitely a growing baby. Other newer airlines have tried to compete with Air Arabia but to no avail; this particular airline has kept its edge against the competition and is still the leading budget carrier in the area today.

Air Arabia has always maintained a good fleet of planes that will be capable of shuttling hundreds of passengers back and forth across cities every day of the year. The carrier tapped Airbus to provide A320s for their consumers. This means that while the airline is offering its passengers cheap air fare, the large seating capacity of the plane helps the airline to make up for discounted tickets.

Air Arabia also offers excellent food service; and to every passenger who knows what it’s like to be stuck in a pressurized cabin for more than an hour, makes a really big difference. Through the brilliance of the Sky Cafe service, passengers are served food that doesn’t look like plastic and taste like cardboard. If your stomach’s grumbling and you’d like a bite or two, you can get a decent sandwich baked from an oven, or perhaps a healthy green salad. There are also beverages available for guests so you won’t end up being thirsty during the entire duration of the flight.

The airline has also managed to maintain a good track record when it comes to safety. No amount of discounts will entice passengers to board a plane if they’re worried about their safety and well-being. Fortunately, safety is a major concern for this airline. Air Arabia is also constantly looking for new and better ways to improve their system, their routes, and their services. Early this year, the airline has announced that they will be setting up a brand new hub–their fourth–this time in Amman, Jordan. From there, passengers can avail of non-stop flights to European cities, Asia, and don’t forget North Africa, too. The company has even decided to expand their operations to hotel management. Later this year, probably by November, the Air Arabia Centro Hotel will officially open its doors to travelers who are looking for accommodation that will still keep them within their budgets. Management has announced that the brand new hotel will have 300 rooms especially for their guests, plus a swimming pool, a restaurant, and a well-equipped business center for the guys in suits who are constantly on the move.

JETSTAR AIRWAYS

How much? A one way ticket from Perth to Bali, Indonesia costs US 129 dollars; a flight from Melbourne to Gold Coast is US 69 dollars; from Brisbane to Christchirch, the ticket costs US 159 dollars.

This particular carrier was born in Australia with its headquarters located in Melbourne. When it first opened, its priority was to cater to passengers who wanted to take domestic flights. Jetstar became the leading domestic airline for passengers who wanted to shuttle fly to and from different cities in Australia. Until now, there are about 20 cities in the country where Jetstar is known to take off, but aside from that, the airline has decided to expand its operations and now offers flights outside the country. These days, the airline makes trips to New Zealand and also to different Asian destinations.

To be able to enter the Asian market, Jetstar gets help from its two sister companies, namely Jetstar Asia and the other, Jetstar Pacific. Jetstar Asia is based in Singapore while Jetstar Pacific has its base in Vietnam. These two airlines make it possible for passengers to fly to more places like Auckland; Hong Kong; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Bangkok, Thailand; Tokyo, Japan; Taipei; and also Osaka. Not to miss out on flights to the west, the airline has one route that goes to Honolulu, Hawaii which flies out of Sydney, Australia.

Jetstar has also earned recognition in the skies by getting awards from Skytrax. Last year, it took the top ranking for 2009’s Best Low Cost Airline for Australia and NZ. This certainly isn’t bad for an airline that was launched just six years ago, back in 2004. They offer passengers extremely low fares that can be quite hard to compete with. Some of their rates for a one way trips even go below US 5 dollars, without the appropriate taxes and additional fees. All three airlines, Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Asia, and Jetstar Pacific are all under the bigger, more popular airline, Qantas.

So, what about the perks? If you think that they’re offering low rates because you’re expected to buckle up in an uncomfortable seat for the news few hours, think again. Jetstar has not compromised comfort and safety for their passengers in exchange for low rates. As a matter of fact, the cabin is equipped with modern and stylish features such as the grey leather seats which are quite comfy. Two months ago, in June, the airline decided to conduct a trial run by equipping their cabins with iPads that passengers can rent during the flight. If you’re worried about getting hungry in the middle of a flight, you also have the option of arranging your meals ahead of time while you book your ticket, saving you the trouble and extra fuss.

Jetstar is a low cost airline that mainly caters to budget travelers, but if you happen to have a little extra cash on you, feel free to have your seat upgraded to Star Class. Here, you can enjoy the perks that come with your ticket such as complimentary food, beverages and also entertainment along the way.

KULULA AIR

How much? A one way ticket from Cape Town to Johannesburg is US 83 dollars; the ticket from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth is US 105 dollars; and the flight from Johannesburg to Harare costs US 237 dollars, although this flight is with British Airways.


Kulula Air is based in Africa, particularly in the continent’s southern region, in Johannesburg. It may only offer flights to five major cities in the area, but it does offer passengers low fares and a fun ride. Kulula Air also has flights going to Harare in Zimbabwe, and Windhoek in Namibia. Through the help of a partnership with popular carrier British Airways, the airline also flies passengers to Plaisance in Mauritius.

Kulula Air takes bargains seriously. They offer cheap flights for travelers in Africa who want to make a quick trip across the country. However, they also understand that it is important for their passengers to have fun, and that’s why their crew gives excellent service and darn funny jokes. If you’re looking for an airline with a good sense of humor, then this is where you want to book a flight. Don’t worry because behind the comedic displays of their cabin crew is a well trained staff who is always ready to assist passengers and act quickly during emergencies. But while the flight is going smoothly and you’re on your way to your dream safari vacation, sit back, relax and have a good chuckle or two.

The airline was established nine years ago back in 2001. Aside from bargain prices, the airline also offers other services that are essential for travelers in foreign countries such as car rentals, tour packages, and most importantly mobile phone packages so you can keep in touch with your hotel, loved ones, or business associates.

The name Kulula was inspired by one of the local ethnic groups that can be found in the continent’s southern region, the Zulu. Basically, it pertains to something simple, light and also easy. If you’re not particular about your wardrobe and are in the mood to test a wide rumor, try donning on a green top as you board your flight with Kulula. Word around the block is that if you wear a lush, green top as you step onto their colorful blue and green airplanes, you automatically get a free chocolate bar.

PORTER AIRLINES

How much? A ticket from Chicago to Montreal costs US 180 dollars; the flight from Quebec to Toronto costs US 96 dollars, and a trip from Toronto to Halifax costs US 125 dollars.

This is a Canadian airline with its base located in Toronto. Mainly, Porter Airlines operates for domestic flights, traveling to various destinations in the country such as Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City, Thunder Bay, Ottawa, and also Mont Tremblant. However, they have also added flights to the United States. Passengers departing from Canada can now choose among flights that go to Myrtle Beach, Boston, New York and Chicago.

Porter Airlines is also fairly new to the business, having been established just four years ago back in 2006. However, it caught the attention of travelers by offering low air fares and a modern departure lounge at the airport. If you’re a person who likes to travel but don’t really like the part where you wait in a crowded airport before your flight leaves, you can book a ticket with Porter Airlines and unwind in their lounge. You can sip a nice hot cup of latte or catch up on your work inside the business center. Here, passengers can also surf the internet through free Wifi and check their email or Facebook page just before they board the plane.

During the flight, passengers can enjoy a nice cold glass of complimentary beer or perhaps some wine. There is also more room for you to move about, as you have only one seatmate, which means there will literally be no middleman for you to worry about. For travelers who find themselves more often among the clouds rather than on the ground, you can even buy your tickets by bulk, which comes in a Porter Pass; this way you can make about a hundred single journey flights. You can also get the Freedom Fare, which gives you the option of changing your flight schedules even up to the eve of your departure date.

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