Budget Airlines that Fly to Europe
January 8th, 2010
In previous articles on this site, we’ve covered the primary budget airlines that fly in a few major countries – but perhaps the best crop of budget airlines is in Europe. Many of the low-cost carriers in the US tend to be regional, only serving a portion of the country – but in Europe, the budget airlines not only cover the country they’re based in but also typically many other countries in Europe besides.
Using the budget airlines that fly in Europe has become such a cheap way to get around that even the traditional Euro backpackers are often opting for a cheap one-way flight from one city to another instead of the time-honored Eurail pass and overnight train. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them don’t fly all the way across the ocean to get you from the US directly – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be informed about them anyway.
There are a couple ways in which Europe’s budget airlines can be useful to you, which I’ll outline below – and then you’ll find a list of some of the more prominent budget airlines in Europe.
Budget Airlines that Fly from Canada and the US to Europe
As mentioned, most of the low-cost airlines in Europe don’t fly across the Atlantic – but a few of them do. The airlines listed here generally have some budget flights connecting major cities in the United States and Canada with major cities in Europe.
- Aer Lingus – Ireland’s national flag carrier, Aer Lingus isn’t usually thought of as a budget carrier. But in order to compete with Ryanair, they’ve been lowering their prices on many flights – including some of their trans-atlantic routes. You can get to Europe via Aer Lingus from Boston, Chicago, Orlando, Washington DC, and New York.
- Eurofly – Eurofly is a small Italian airline that is mostly owned by another Italian airline called Meridiana. But what’s important is that during the high season, Eurofly routinely has spectacular deals on flights between Italy and cities on the US east coast.
- US Airways – Although US Airways calls itself a budget airline (and it may feel like one with the bare-bones service they offer), its trans-atlantic flights aren’t usually a huge savings over other big airlines.
- Air Transat – Based in Montreal, Air Transat is mainly a charter airline but it does offer some fairly inexpensive flights to Europe during the summer.
How to Use Budget Airlines in Europe
If you’re not fortunate enough to live near one of the cities served by any of the discount airline listed above, then you might have to look at Plan B for flying on budget airlines to get to Europe. Plan B is more complicated, but it’s always worth checking if you’re more interested in saving money than anything else.
The idea of Plan B is that you find the cheapest flight to Europe – anywhere in Europe, whether it’s close to where you want to end up or not. Then you find a super-cheap ticket on one of Europe’s budget airlines to get you from that entry point to the city where you actually want to be spending your holiday.
This can, as mentioned, get sort of complicated – especially if the budget airline flies out of a different airport in the entry city than you flew into. And regardless of which airport you’re in, you’ll always have to collect your bags from your first journey and then check in all over again for the second leg. It can be a hassle, there’s no denying it. But it also has the potential to save you several hundred dollars on your ticket, so it’s a good idea to check out at the very least.
Budget Airlines in Europe
If you’re interested in trying this two-step method of getting from the US to Europe, then here are some of the main budget airlines you can check out for cheap fares to your destination (country where they’re based is in parentheses, but most of these airlines serve several countries in Europe):
- Air Berlin (Germany)
- Blu-express (Italy)
- Blue Air (Romania)
- bmibaby (England)
- easyJet (England)
- Flybe (England)
- Germanwings (Germany)
- Jet2 (England)
- Jetairfly (Belgium)
- Meridiana (Italy)
- Pegasus Airlines (Turkey)
- Ryanair (Ireland)
- Smart Wings (Czech Republic)
- transavia.com (France, Netherlands)
- TUIfly (Germany)
- Vueling Airlines (Spain)
- Wizz Air (Hungary)
photo by monstermunch99