Flyers looking for a discounted fare should continue to look towards low-cost carriers – but some surprising names join them competing for the title of world’s most frugal. Rome2Rio announced their top 50 cheapest airlines per kilometer, with an Australian airline and two AirAsia brands leading the world for discounted tickets.
Passengers on Pacific low-cost carriers may pay the least for their flights, according to new data from online travel agency Rome2Rio. The 2018 Global Flight Price Ranking found two AirAsia brands and a Virgin Australia subsidiary were the cheapest to fly per kilometer.
Australian low-cost carrier Tigerair, owned by Virgin Australia, offered the lowest fares with an average of six cents per kilometer flown. AirAsia X and Indonesia AirAsia came in second and third, respectively. Both airlines had an average fair of around nice cents per kilometer.
Although two other familiar low-cost carriers – WOW Air and Ryanair – appeared in the international top ten, Middle East carrier Etihad also made an appearance. The luxury airline was ranked fifth cheapest overall, with an average price per kilometer of just over 10 cents. Qatar Airways ranked in 11th place, charging flyers an average of 11 cents per kilometer.
Between American carriers, ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines was the cheapest per kilometer flown, charging passengers an average of 13 cents per kilometer. The former Virgin America (now part of Alaska Airlines) ranked second, with an average price of 14 cents per kilometer. Their parent company charged an average of 21 cents per kilometer. Frontier Airlines ranked third, where flyers pay just over 14 cents per kilometer to fly.
Among legacy carriers, American Airlines was the cheapest to fly, charging fares of around 26 cents per ticket. United Airlines came in right behind, where flyers pay 28 cents per kilometer. The biggest surprise came from Southwest Airlines, charging the most among major carriers. Those who fly the “LUV” airline pay an average of 29 cents per kilometer. Delta Air Lines was not ranked on the list.
Looking at a global scale, Chile was the cheapest country to fly in, with an average cost per kilometer of 11 cents. Indonesia, Turkey, India, Bulgaria and Thailand rounded out the top five. While American flyers can expect to pay an average of 26 cents per kilometer, it’s cheaper than the cost of flying in Canada, China, Russia, or the United Kingdom.
To determine rankings, Rome2Rio ran price comparisons on published economy airfares in January and February 2018. Only fares within 200 percent of the cheapest price available were considered, with no consideration given to premium cabin flights.