The term "low cost" originated in the United States decades ago with airlines offering cheap flights at half the price of traditional carriers. Later, the low cost craze spread to other industries, not just flights, but to low cost holidays, hotels, car rental, clothing, and even to the automotive industry, just to name a few.
What are low cost flights?
In Australia, low cost flights are well known because of the various budget carriers that offer cheaper Australia domestic and international flights. These airlines are specifically referred to as "low cost airlines", but the term can also be used for cheap flights with traditional airlines. When assessing the price of a flight with a low cost airline compared to a traditional airline, we recommend you compare prices, flight schedules, to which airport the airline operates, especially the distance from the city centre and ground transport prices. It's also important to take into account any additional fees like extra costs to check luggage. Keep reading for more tips for flying with budget carriers.
Tips to book the cheapest low cost flights:
1. Book in advance!
Whenever possible, book in advance to get the best deal. Last minute flights tend to go up in price. This, of course, is also affected by seasonality.
2. Be flexible!
If your travel dates are flexible, try to book your holidays during the low season or during the weekdays. Prices tend to increase as the weekend approaches.
Do a side-by-side flight comparison looking at more than just the price. Compare several low cost airlines by flight schedule as well, as departure times also influence the final price of airline tickets.
4. Check the secondary airports!
Budget carriers often fly to secondary airports, but not always the case, it simply depends on the airline. Low cost carriers (LCC) that fly to secondary airports are oftentimes cheaper, however, arriving further from the city centre many times means more money will be spent on ground transport. This is something to consider when evaluating the total price.
5. Be careful with the baggage fees
Always pay checked baggage fees when you book online. Hold luggage fees drastically increase when paid at the airport.
6. Keep in mind: no frills services
Low cost airlines keep their prices down by offering a more basic service. This means that in most cases drinks and food are not included in the ticket price. The "no frills" service also incurs fees where traditional airlines may not. For example, there are fines for oversized and overweight baggage and any changes made to tickets after they've been issued.
7. Be on time!
In general, low cost carriers have better rates of on-time arrivals when comparing to traditional airlines. Because of this, it's important to get to the airport early enough to check-in and/or drop off any baggage. The check-in desk, boarding and gate closing times differ depending on the airlines so it is necessary to check this ahead of time.
8. Bring your documents to travel
Check the accepted forms of identification travel documents each airline allows as it may vary by company. Also, check the rules for unaccompanied minors, as the minimum age to fly alone also may differ.
Main destinations for Australia's low cost airlines:
Keep reading to find a list of budget carriers operating in Australia and consult their offers to book your next low cost holiday today!
Jetstar, subsidiary of Qantas, flies out of many Australian airports like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide...to domestic destinations like the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, Cairns, Queensland, Perth...and international destinations like Auckland, Bali, Phuket...
Scoot, Singapore Airline's low cost airline, operates medium and long-haul flights out of Australia airports Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney to international destinations like Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Taipei...
Tigerair Airways is a low cost airline based out of Singapore. It offers cheap flights out of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Gold Coast airports across domestic Australia, Southeast Asia, China and India.
AirAsia is a Malaysian LCC operating flights out of Sydney, Perth and Melbourne airports to Asian destinations like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Phuket, Bali, Chiang Mai, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Seoul...
Virgin Australia is the second largest carrier in Australia and officially a low cost airline, it has named itself a "New World Carrier", meaning passengers have the choice to pay less for a more basic service or more for that of a traditional airline. The airline operates flights out of Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide...to domestic and international destinations.