Several airlines offer low fares from the UK, providing an easy and affordable way to travel. Take a gondola ride in Venice, hang out with hipsters in Berlin, or visit a European City of Culture. Here we look at which of the following is the best low-cost airline in the UK.
- Wizz Air
- Blue Air
This Hungarian low-cost airline with headquarters in Budapest (BUD) and a UK hub at Luton (LTN) has gained popularity. It serves many European cities and some North African destinations with its distinctive purple livery and new routes appearing regularly.
1) Standard passenger baggage allowance: One cabin bag with a 10kg weight allowance (40cm x 30cm x 20cm).
2) Priority passengers: Standard baggage allowance + 10kg cabin bag (55 x 40 x 23 cm).
3) Baggage policy: Very strict on all routes. Staff actively look for passengers with oversized or heavy baggage.
4) Reliability: Flights are reliable and well organised.
Wizz air offers Wizz Discount Club for €29.99 annually, which unlocks a further reduction in fares. Combined with Wizz Priority, additional benefits include extra baggage, priority boarding, and check-in. For frequent flyers, purchase Wizz Privilege, a membership scheme for €199 annually. The scheme is a similar scheme to easyJet Plus membership.
More detailed Wizz Air baggage information.
The UK budget airline leader flying passengers from their Luton headquarters and 17 other UK departure points to over 1,000 routes in more than 30 countries.
1) Standard passenger baggage allowance: One small cabin bag with no weight allowance (45cm x 36cm x 20cm).
2) easyJet Plus, FLEXI, Upfront and Extra Legroom passengers: As above, plus an extra bag (45cm x 36cm x 20cm).
3) Baggage policy: Very strict both out of the UK and inbound. There is a strict one bag policy only, except for duty-free items carried by hand.
4) Reliability: The last flight of the day can be late.
Frequent easyJet Flyers may benefit from purchasing easyJet Plus membership, at £215 annually. This includes fast track security, speedy boarding, extra baggage and free seating.
More detailed easyJet baggage information. Updated baggage policy from 10th February 2021.
The Irish budget airline has two major bases: Dublin (DUB) and London Stansted (STN). Despite negative press, the airline connects 40 countries operating over 2,400 flights daily. Seats are basic, with limited facilities; however, the list of destinations is varied.
1) Standard passenger baggage allowance: One cabin bag with no weight allowance (40cm x 20cm x 25cm).
2) Priority passengers: A small charge includes priority boarding and two cabin bags (standard bag plus 10kg cabin bag).
3) Baggage policy: Very strict on all routes.
4) Reliability: Flights are often delayed and occasionally cancelled.
Ryanair charges for everything from airport check-in to baggage, plus food and drinks on board. Flight times and routes are more convenient than other budget airlines, so check before booking elsewhere.
More detailed Ryanair baggage information.
The fourth-largest low-cost airline in Europe behind Wizz Air, easyJet and Ryanair, flying from London Gatwick (LGW). Despite the global pandemic, the airline was Europe’s leading low-cost airline in 2020.
1) Standard passenger baggage allowance (Low fare): 10 kg max under seat bag (30cm x 20cm x 38cm).
2) Express or Comfort packages: Standard allowance + overhead cabin bag (55 x 40 x 23cm).
3) Baggage policy: Strict with baggage weight, especially on UK to US routes.
4) Reliability: Good, and flights are usually prompt.
There is plenty of legroom along with mood lighting in Economy class. Snacks and light meals are available on most flights, along with limited free wifi. Their Premium package includes all of the extras. Passengers can carry one duty-free bag in addition to their ticket type allowance.
More detailed Norwegian baggage information.
A Romanian low-cost airline with headquarters in Bucharest (OTP). In the UK, they fly from:
- Birmingham (BHX)
- Glasgow (GLA)
- Liverpool (LPL)
- London Luton (LTN)
The airline is reasonable, but the choice of destinations is limited from the UK. Flying from Bucharest (OTP) increases the number and frequency of routes available.
1) Standard passenger baggage allowance: 6 kg bag (40cm x 30cm x 20cm).
2) Express or Comfort packages: 10 kg bag (55cm x 40cm x 20cm).
3) Baggage policy: Strict on luggage sizes especially flying from Bucharest (OTP).
4) Reliability: Good, flights leave on time, and they are efficient onboard.
More detailed Blue Air baggage information.
Which is the best low-cost airline in the UK?
These airlines offer discounted fares and other incentives to entice travellers to book. With a bit of research and planning, one can pick up some excellent deals, especially booking several months, or in some cases, up to a year ahead.
With a return flight, use separate airlines for each leg of the journey, providing more flexibility. Pay attention to baggage allowances and sizes when using this strategy. The trick with budget airlines is to comply with baggage allowances to get the most value from a fare.
Wizz Air, with an extensive network of destinations, a UK hub at London Luton (LTN), combined with a privilege pass, in our opinion, is the best low-cost airline in the UK.
Visit lastminute.com for information on budget airlines.
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