The No-Frills Revolution

Using No-Frills Airlines and Low-Cost Carriers you can now fly across a continent often for as little as $20 each way. Viva la revolucion!

• No-frills airlines
• How they work
• How to find them
• How to book them
• N. America to Europe
• Intercontinental LCCs
• Big Ben Switcheroo
• Big Apple Switcheroo
• Airport resources

An easyJet plane, one of the most successful of Europe's no-frills airlines
EasyJet and other no-frills carriers are quickly becoming the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to connect Point A and Point B all around the world.

The rapid growth of no-frills airlines is pealing a death knell for the bloated, corporate airlines that have, for decades, overcharged us.

The harbingers of this revolution are the Low-Cost Carriers (LCCs), a.k.a. No-Frills Airlines. They have names like JetBlue and Southwest, Ryanair and easyJet, Tiger and Bangkok Air. And they charge as little as twenty bucks per flight, taxes included.

OK, so $20 is at the low end of things. But the average fare is something like $80, and tickets almost never top $199—they rarely even get close.

Some of these low-cost carriers are as "no-frills" as their nickname implies: little more than flying buses, with no assigned seating, in-flight entertainment, or even free grub—if you've ever flown Southwest, you know what I mean. Though, of course, these days even some traditional airlines are making you pay for the awful food, and to "rent" a pair of $5 headphones so you can watch the lousy movie. (For more on the pros and cons and strategies of no-frillers, read here.)

On the other hand, a few LCCs offer you a rather posher experience than you'd get, at least in coach, on most traditional "legacy airlines"—think of the wide leather seats, ample legroom, and individual seatback screens featuring DirectTV aboard a JetBlue plane.

On the following pages, you'll find the best no-frills strategies for making use of these new inexpensive airlines, as well as links to resources listing the current crop of LCCs

around the globe, from 30-plus-year veterans like Southwest in the USA, to the successful young turks like Europe's easyJet and Ryanair, and the new frontier of upstarts in Asia, Australia, and elsewhere.

What's more, a few low-cost airlines are now flying intercontinental routes, connecting Italy to Africa, Florida to Europe, Thailand to Germany, and London to Kuala Lumpur—often for far less than traditional airlines (how does under $200 each way grab you?).

It's a brave new world of far cheaper airline tickets out there. Happy flying!

Resources for finding and booking no-frills airlines >>

This article was last updated in November 2007. All information was accurate at the time.
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