Our Favourite Airlines Around the World

/Our Favourite Airlines Around the World

Our Favourite Airlines Around the World

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Over the years we have travelled on many different airlines.
Obviously, after all there are some airlines that we like more than others. And some that we rather wouldn’t recommend to you.
In this article we will share our experiences from budget airlines to premium carriers. Showing you our personal preferences, including: the best deals, best value for money, best airline overall and the best frequent flyer program for each region around the world.

Airlines

Europe

  • Best deals:
    Ryanair – Known as THE low-cost carrier of Europe, it actually isn’t that bad anymore. They lowered their fees for extras like baggage, started flying to more popular airports, and you don’t have to run on the plane anymore, as they now give you assigned seats. You can literally fly all around Europe from 5 USD, and even without promotions the average flight rarely costs you more than 50 USD if you are a little flexible on flight times. In addition, they have an extensive route network, which in fact is the biggest in Europe.
  • Best value for money
    SAS Scandinavian Airlines – They offer really cheap youth tickets for everyone under 26 flying to or from Scandinavia, also including free checked baggage, but even their normal prices are often very cheap with amazing promotions. Especially on their long-haul flights, they now offer one of the most modern aircraft interiors combined with friendly flight attendants and a surprisingly extensive route network in Scandinavia and Europe. Plus, you can use the bonuses of being able to collect miles, as SAS is part of the Star Alliance.
  • Best airline overall
    British Airways – While Europe generally isn’t home to the worlds best airlines, British Airways along with Lufthansa are still able to compete on a higher level than others. They both offer rather generous Economy Class seating with good entertainment options and a good Business Class as well as a great First Class product. On top of that, their airport lounges are one of the best outside of Asia and the Middle East.
  • Best frequent flyer program
    Turkish Airlines (Star Alliance) – It’s probably the cheapest way, alongside Aegean Airlines program, to maintain your Star Alliance Gold Status, allowing lounge access and more, at only 25.000 miles that you need to fly every second year, and the amount of miles you need for redemptions are really low too.

Africa

  • Best deals
    FlySafair – Usually you’ll find the cheapest discount fares on FlySafair, however, you don’t get any free baggage with the cheapest fares. Most african low-cost carriers operate in the region around South Africa, so the airlines we mention here are also from that area.
  • Best value for money
    Kulula – Being a part of the South African Comair, which is itself part of British Airways, Kulula is a a fairly good airline with low prices, almost as low as FlySafair, but they still include free bag, have a better reputation and more modern planes than other airlines in the region.
  • Best airline overall
    South African Airways – Very spacious seating in almost all of their aircrafts, with great hospitality and good airport lounges. They have the largest network out of any African carrier. Besides Africa, they also fly to Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and South America.
    If you want to fly Business Class though, be sure to check out Kenya Airways as well, as they have a great product on their long-haul flights, same as Ethiopian Airlines.
  • Best frequent flyer program
    Ethiopian Airlines (Star Alliance) – At 50.000 Miles per year, this is not the cheapest Star Alliance Gold Status out there, but you can also get it by flying 40 Star Alliance flights a year! With an average of one connection each way, that’s only 10 roundtrips, no matter where in the world you go or how long the flights are!

Asia

  • Best deals
    Air Asia – You have most likely heard of Air Asia, the airline which is currently taking over most of Asias low-cost market with the slogan “Now everyone can fly”. While normally being cheap, their so called BIG Sales are beyond ridiculous. Domestic flights in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines from 2 USD and flights all across this broad region of the world for around 10 to 30 USD. That said, their route network is nothing short of enormous! If you want to travel Asia for cheap, Air Asia is the airline to go to.
  • Best value for money
    Air Asia X – Basically the same as Air Asia, but for long haul flights. Fly internationally between Southeast Asia and Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan from 50 USD each way. Air Asia X even has a proper Business Class, during the BIG Sales they sell these at prices that Singapore Airlines or Qantas would charge you for an average economy ticket! Recently they’ve even introduced flights to Mauritius and other expensive destinations like the Maldives. Air Asias prices are just too good to not be mentioned under best value for money.
  • Best airline overall
    Singapore Airlines – Known for being one of the top three airlines in the world for many consecutive years. Singapore Airlines does indeed impress with spacious seating throughout their cabins, including Economy Class. Their long-haul Business Class seats are in fact the most spacious on any plane, and their First Class Suites can actually transform into a fully enclosed double bed. When flying on Singapore Airlines, even in Economy Class, you’ll be able to take advantage of the unique airport rooftop pool while you wait for you connecting flight, visit the airports own butterfly garden and much more. Singapore Changi has been the best airport in the world for many years.
  • Best frequent flyer program
    Asiana Airlines (Star Alliance) – The airline from South Korea itself hasn’t got the largest network in their portfolio. However that’s not what this is about. While they do actually offer a really good on board product, their frequent flyer program is the most interesting part. It’s one of the cheapest ways to get your Star Alliance Gold Status. Allowing lounge access and more, and furthermore the amount of miles you need to book Business or First Class flights on some routes are super low as well.

Australia / Oceania

  • Best deals
    Tigerair – Tigerair has got some awesome promotions every other week, and their “Saturday flight fever” includes the cheapest flights you’ll get in Australia with oneway tickets from 15 USD. However, their route network is still fairly limited as they are a new airline to this continent, but they do fly all the important routes plus to some holiday destinations like Whitsunday Coast or internationally Bali.
  • Best value for money
    Jetstar – Jetstar offers good deals along with an extensive route network throughout Australia, the South Pacific and Asia. Sometimes they have “free return flights” on offer, where you pay to go and then come back for free. We’ve seen 10 hour flights from Sydney to Honolulu from 300 USD including the free return. Despite Jetstar is one of the better low-cost airlines with really modern planes and fairly good customer service, as it’s owned by Qantas. After all, they even offer a price match guarantee. So in case Tiger is cheaper on the same route within one hour of the departure time, you just chat to Jetstar and the’ll match the price, minus 10%!
  • Best airline overall
    Qantas – There’s no doubt. Qantas, the very first airline to ever operate in Australia, is definitely the best airline on the fifth continent, be it the customer service, the plane interiors or the amazing premium class services they offer. It’s also been rated the safest airline in the entire world. Of course all this comes at a price, which is often very steep compared to their competitors. If you’re willing to pay the premium – choose Qantas. However, some of their older long-haul planes still have a fairly old Business Class on board.
  • Best frequent flyer program
    Virgin Australia – Airlines from Down Under don’t tend to have the most generous frequent flyer programs. However, Virgin Australia still offers the most attractive possibilities with good bonuses and some fairly cheap redemption rates. Qantas is pretty good too, with lots of cool short flight options to redeem miles for. For example to Lord Howe Island, but they’re just too expensive in our opinion.

Middle East

  • Best deals
    Oman Air – Especially recently, Oman Air has had amazing promotions. You might not have heard of the airline, but they are actually very good and offer some of the most spacious Economy and Business Class seating across most of their planes. With Economy fares often going as low as 350 USD round trip from Europe to Africa or Asia in Economy, or 1.100 USD in Business Class, you get an amazing but lesser known product for a bargain price. Best of all – they have direct flights to  the island of Zanzibar!
  • Best value for money
    Qatar Airways – Since the fuel prices have dramatically lowered in 2014 and 2015, Qatar Airways has had unbeatable offers. From Europe to the Middle East for under 300 USD roundtrip, or to Asia from around 1.000 USD… in Business Class! And all that, while Qatar Airways is actually one of the best airlines in the world. In addition, you can take advantage of all these good deals by crediting your miles or points to any frequent flyer program in the Oneworld Alliance.
  • Best airline overall
    Etihad Airways – From very modern Economy Class cabins to super spacious Business Class seats with lots of privacy. To probably the most amazing first class product out there and some of the most advanced planes in the skies. You get all that, combined with top notch service on board and in their lounges. Once the new Abu Dhabi airport is completed in 2017, the overall experience will be even better.
  • Best frequent flyer program
    Etihad Airways (Etihad Partners) – This is another reason why we fly them so much. Their Frequent Flyer Program is one of the last ones which properly rewards you even though you travel on very cheap economy class tickets. You earn tons of miles with their promotions and some of the redemption options are really good. We have so far spent about 10.000 USD on many different Etihad Economy tickets and redeemed our earned miles for a value of 20.000 USD. But still have 300.000 miles left in our account. While Etihad is in no major airline alliance, they kind of built their own alliance network with partners like Airberlin, Alitalia, Virgin Australia and many more.

North America

  • Best deals
    JetBlue – While JetBlue doesn’t operate any Intercontinental flights, they do have good to great deals within North America. Especially to the Caribbean sometimes, where we have seen fares for as low as 19 USD oneway. And not only is their Economy Class rather spacious, their new Mint Class is a fantastic way to travel long distances in extremely comfort, while not being ripped off. 500 USD for a flat bed on a six hour flight across the states really isn’t too bad.
  • Best value for money
    Southwest – They have a reputation for being the worlds very first low-cost airline. While that might be true, their prices are not significantly lower than those of their competitors anymore. However, instead they’ve introduced not one, but two free checked bags. Their networks offers a lot of different connection options too. In addition, their staff members are probably the most friendly out of any American airline.
  • Best airline overall
    Air Canada – North American Airlines are known for not being that great. While American Airlines has actually made a step forward. Air Canada has always been our favourite for travel to – and if possible within – North America. Spacious seating, an excellent Business Class, and a Frequent Flyer program which is probably close to on par with American Airlines.
  • Best frequent flyer program
    American Airlines (Oneworld) – Even though they have devaluated their program recently. There are still some really good options to earn and then redeem miles. Especially because of the vast amount of airline partners, which not only include the Oneworld Alliance, but also others like Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways or Air Tahiti Nui. Uniteds and Deltas programs have overall fallen a bit short since their last devaluation. However, Air Canada is a very good option if you like Star Alliance more than Oneworld.

South America

  • Best deals
    GOL – Probably the most famous low-cost airline in South America. They often have good deals on. In addition, you can fly to many destinations especially around Brazil, and baggage is also included in your fare.
  • Best value for money
    LATAM Airlines – Not only are they a good airline. They also frequently have good sales on to compete against the new low-cost airlines popping up in South America. Between Sao Paulo and Rio you can fly for 30 to 40 USD each way. In addition, checked baggage is included on all flights as well.
  • Best airline overall
    LATAM Airlines – Previously known as LAN Chile. This airline has acquired the Brazilian TAM and is now South Americas largest and best airline. They offer the most modern planes, the most modern interiors with perfectly comfortable seats, and a really good Business Class on top. They are also the only airline apart from Qantas to fly from South America (Santiago) to Sydney via Auckland.
  • Best frequent flyer program
    Avianca Lifemiles (Star Alliance) – Once known for being one of the best frequent flyer programs in the world, because of a number of rookie mistakes that had been made developing the program. Despite most of these having been fixed now. It is still a great program, which for example allows you to buy miles for cheap and then redeem them online for many flights around the world. You can make use of the entire Star Alliance network.

 

Do you agree with our list? Or you prefer some other airlines in the region? Comment below, we’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂


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By | 2017-02-04T21:19:19+01:00 October 22nd, 2016|How to find cheap airfares|4 Comments

About the Author:

Hey there I'm Emma! A luxury and adventure travel blogger. I've currently travelled to 53 countries with no plans to stop! I hope I can inspire you to travel the world with my travel guides, travel and blogging tips, as I believe travel is for everyone. So come and travel well for less with me!

4 Comments

  1. Emily Kydd 10/31/2016 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Hi there,
    Great list, I definitely agree with Turkish Air, they are awesome! I find most of my experiences on Air Canada have been less than awesome, and being Canadian that is highly disappointing. But the bonus to them when they lose your luggage they typically get it to you fairly fast! Good to know about the loyalty plans, my friends and I were just talking about the best way to get into those lounges!

    Cheers,

    Emily Kydd

    • Luxurybackpacking 11/02/2016 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      Hey Emily!
      It’s great to hear about your own experiences, and we are sad about Air Canada, as we personally love them for travelling around North America, when we get the chance! Loyalty plans are great, and Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles is one of the best programmes to sign up for if you want to get into a Star Alliance lounge! Check out the programmes of Asiana Airlines and Aegean Airlines too! So keep flying and you’ll get there soon, we promise 😀

      Emma & Yannick

  2. Katrina | Aqua & Ink 11/04/2016 at 11:30 am - Reply

    This is so useful!! Always on the hunt for some more good airlines to use!

    • Luxurybackpacking 11/04/2016 at 11:45 am - Reply

      Finding good airlines with amazing benefits is hard 🙂 Glad this post has helped you.

      Emma & Yannick

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