Flying Across the Spectrum – The Cheapest and Most Expensive Airlines in the World

Flying Across the Spectrum - The Cheapest and Most Expensive Airlines in the World

For most travellers, choosing an optimal airline can be a major hassle. From in-flight entertainment and a wide variety of food options, to having the facility of pet travel, air passengers fret over various considerations. With choices galore in the aviation industry, flying cheap or not-so-cheap is only a matter of choice for the flier today. Let’s have a look at the cheapest and most expensive airlines to understand how broad the spectrum of flying has really grown.

Cheapest Airlines

Most of us have heard bizarre stories from travellers flying in low-cost airlines. One amongst these is around Air Deccan (an erstwhile Indian airline company) when it launched the first low-cost flights. The story goes that the free-seating arrangement prompted passengers to quarrel over seats they had apparently secured by placing a handkerchief on, a common practice followed in the local bus system!

While it may be hard to ascertain the truth behind these stories, what we do know for sure is that there are a number of competing flights out there that will probably cost you less than your cab fare to the airport!

Domestic Flights

Southwest Airlines

While Southwest Airlines and Ryanair are known to have pioneered the concept of low-cost domestic flying, it is the Asia Pacific players that have perfected the art. Within the US, low-cost carriers that have won the hearts of budget fliers over the years include Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines. JetBlue Airways flight deals have also endeared it to budget travellers all over the US.

Outside the US, Tigerair Australia tops the charts with prices as low as 6 cents a kilometre. The airline was named the cheapest airline in the world by Rome2Rio’s 2018 Global Flight Price Ranking. From having been voted as Australia’s worst airline in 2014, Tigerair Australia experienced a fairy-tale turnaround moment when they were bought by the Virgin group.

International Flights

Air Asia flight deals

With fares as low as 7 cents per kilometre, the Malaysia based Air Asia has been consistently voted as the “Best Low Cost Airline” for 11 years by Skytrax, including at the latest 2019 awards. The airline operates cheap flights in and around Southeast Asia i.e. Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. Air Asia flight deals also include deals  by its sister company Air Asia X – which operates affordable and long-haul transatlantic flights to destinations within USA and Australia.

Most Expensive Airlines

most expensive airlines

A simple Google search will reveal that there is no dearth of theories around why airline travel can be so expensive. Fun fact, it hardly ever has anything to do with the actual cost of factors, and is more about luxury and exclusivity. Strictly speaking, a ride on the International Space Station would win the award for most expensive air travel, hands down. The last time a civilian boarded the ISS, his 12-day joy ride set him back by a meagre $35million back in 2009!

Limiting ourselves to terrestrial aviation, however, brings us to “The Residence” aboard Etihad, one of the world’s most expensive airlines. Etihad’s luxury penthouse featuring a three-room suite with a butler, chef and turndown service is available to anyone willing to cough up $64,000 for a round-trip ride between New York and Abu Dhabi. If you’ve always dreamt of wanting to Netflix and chill in the high skies while being served by a world-class chef, you have just found your ticket to make your dreams come true. The living room comes equipped with a leather couch, a 32-inch flat screen television, and freshly prepared meals cooked to order. The bedroom can be approached through a hallway and reveals a double bed and another 27-inch flat screen TV. As your luxury sojourn comes to an end, you can choose to shower in your very own private bathroom before stepping back into the real world. On doing the math, each hour on this seat equates to about $4500-$5000!

Alaska Airlines

Back home in the US, Alaska Airlines gives you a taste of luxury flying without charging a bomb for it. The Mint Cabin, the First Class option on JetBlue Airways flights, also offers several premium facilities which include gourmet dining and lie-flat seats.

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