Low Cost Budget Airlines From London
easyJet, Ryanair, Air Berlin , Wizzair, Germanwings, Norwegian ...
London is the heart of the European low cost budget airline network. easyJet, UK's largest lowest low cost airline and Ryanair, an Irish low cost airline with a major base in the UK dominate the European low cost market and London is no exception. Although these two between them carry the majority of travelers on low cost budget airlines into London, there are many alternatives that focus on a particular region.
|Major UK Airlines|
At the moment there is no true long haul airlines flying low cost into London with the notable exception of Air Asia flying a daily flight out of Stansted to Malaysia.
It should be remembered that the legacy 'frills' airlines can still be very competitive, especially if you are purchasing your ticket relatively close to the travel date.
Low Cost Airports In London
Stansted , Luton and Gatwick airports all have sizable low cost operations. Only a few years ago Stansted dominated but slowly but surely flights have moved especially to Gatwick.
You will find that for many of the more popular routes there are low cost flights from all three airports.
Gatwick is the most convenient airport if you are transiting through Heathrow off a long haul flight onto a low cost carrier. The Heathrow - Gatwick shuttle buses run many times each hour. Gatwick also has the fastest (train) transfer into London.
Stansted is dominated by Ryanair. It is the furthest of the three airports from London. It has a good train link but unlike Gatwick has a good choice of much cheaper airport bus options with three bus lines fighting for your custom.
Luton is the smallest of the three airports, you don't do so much walking to get to the aircraft and you tend to get through the airport much quicker.
Hidden Costs Of Budget Airlines
All of the budget airlines offer very attractive lead-in prices, but are notorious for all the extra charges that soon add up. When you are benchmarking against legacy carriers flying into Heathrow or comparing budget airlines , bear in mind:
Heathrow is by far the closest airport to Central London. The London Underground Heathrow link is by far the cheapest way of getting from any London Airport to your hotel. There is almost certainly an Underground station within walking distance of your London accommodation.
The add-ons have become bewildering. Some extra's such as check-in fees, credit card fees are hardly optional and differ widely from carrier to carrier. Others such as speedy boarding and allocated seating are more discretionary.
Baggage fees are for most people going to be the add-on fee that they are hit hardest with. Both fees and allowances differ widely between carriers, some still offer a free hold baggage allowance
There a few budget airlines where you can purchase through tickets through a hub airport. This may have an indirect saving if you don't have to put in large contingency times between flights in case your first flight is delayed
Destination and Airlines
As a rule of thumb, Ryanair and easyJet are the benchmarks if you are budget conscious and have the widest coverage. Do compare prices of the budget carriers with the legacy scheduled airlines like British Airways, often BA can be cheaper once you factor in all the add-ons. You can do this simply at Opodo, (link left) which will compare flights for you.
Low cost airlines come and go. Those that have now been around a few years operating stable established routes to London other than Ryanair and easyJet include.
For East Europe, Wizzair and Turkey, Pegasus.
Thomson are the UK's largest tour operator with their own airline. Frequencies to Southern Europe and most leisure destinations in Europe and beyond are very high from all London's airports. Thomson Airways make available seats on these services