Airlines that give the most bang for your buck are not necessarily just those that charge the least per flight. They’re the ones that strive to combine their economy with on-time schedules, fewer add-on charges, and will greet you with helpful and friendly flight crews. Some of the best include:
1. Southwest Airlines is like the little engine that could. It keeps huffing and puffing with bargain prices, and has become one of the most popular U.S. airlines for cheap tickets, best bang for your buck and good customer service. It’s current TV ads brag about the fact that it doesn’t charge for checked baggage, a savings of from $50 up per round-trip flight from those airlines that do.
Another plus factor about Southwest is the attitude of its inflight employees, from the captain’s friendly banter on the intercom to the smiles and jokes of the flight attendants. This year the Executive Travel Association named Southwest Airlines the Best North American Low Cost Airline. A further honor was that the American Customer Satisfaction Index ranked Southwest Airlines first among all airlines for the 17th consecutive year.
2. Ireland’s Ryan Air has grown quickly after its debut in 1985 with just a dozen routes covering the British Isles. Now the Dublin-based airline has more than 500 routes, but has held on to its low-cost policy. Passengers buying tickets to destinations in Europe may be able to find special-offer flights as low as $20 one-way.
Ryanair is always in the international headlines for its brash, no-frills business practices and fun-loving crews. Leading the pack is CEO Michael O’Leary, who often shows a startling sense of humor … or is he serious? A year ago he said, in order to keep his ticket prices low, he was planning to install pay toilets onboard his aircraft.
News reports more recently said Ryan is now considering newly-designed, saddle-like seats arranged in tight rows, where passengers actually just lean back standing throughout the flight. Some critics describe it as the equivalent to strap hangers on crowded subway trains. The seat arrangements are designed to stuff even more passengers into their already tight seats, and O’Leary claims that would bring their prices down even lower.
3. JetBlue is conveniently headquartered in JFK Airport in New York, and the airline’s flights fan out to destinations all over the United States. It’s aircraft always look spiffy clean, and onboard crews are friendly and helpful.
In addition to low fares, JetBlue gives free TV and XM, free snacks and soft drinks, and no charge for first checked bag. One-way tickets are available without penalty, and other savings are offered that make the airline a bargain.
These are three airlines that not only give you the most bang for your buck, but also a yuk or two and free extras that will make your flights even more enjoyable.