What does European budget airlines offer travellers?

Here is a quick overview.

Cheap tickets

This is of course the reason you choose to fly a low cost airline – to save money. Everything the airline does is geared towards keeping costs down in order to be able to offer cheaper tickets and travel for customers.

Point to point flights

Flights are operated point to point between major European cities and you are not routed through an airline hub airport.

Few guaranties

Few discount airlines take any responsibility for consequences of delayed or cancelled flights. If your flight is delayed causing you to miss an onwards flight, you are on your own.

Bring your own food

Most discount airlines don't serve free food on board. You have to bring food and drinks with you onboard or buy whatever you need during the flight.

Secondary, smaller airports

Some budget airlines fly between smaller airports where the landing fees are lower than at the major airports. These airports may be harder to get to and farther away from main cities. Many major airports are now lowering their landing fees attracting new routes operated by low-cost airlines.

Internet booking

Many European discount airlines only allow reservations to be made on the Web and for most airlines the lowest airfare tickets can only be purchased on their Website.

Price depending on when you book

Many low cost airlines sell seats at a range of prices for the same flight. The seats sold first are the ones sold at the lowest price. As the flight fill up and the day of departure approaches, you have to pay more for a seat. To get the best price you often have to book several weeks or even months ahead of when you want to travel. Buying a last-minute ticket on a budget airline can be almost as expensive as flying with a full cost airline.

One class of service

Airplanes operated by discount airlines in Europe are not divided into classes. All seats have the same standard and all passengers receive the same service no matter how much they paid for their ticket. The price you pay for your travel ticket usually depend only on when you book and how many free seats there are when you make your reservation.

Ticketless travel

Most low cost airlines does not issue paper tickets. To check in on the day of departure you bring with you a reference number that was issued when you booked the ticket as well as your passport or other identification documents accepted by the airline. Based on this you are checked in and receive a boarding card.

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Billige flybilletter med Europeiske lavpris flyselskaper

Europe has a number of budget airlines offering low cost air travel to the price conscious holiday and business traveller. The European discount airlines are now well established and there are low cost flights available between most European countries. Also, at a national level many countries are well covered by domestic budget priced flights.

Below is a list of low-cost airlines operating cheap flights in Europe. Please check each airline's website for schedules and prices.

European Discount Airlines

Air-Berlin  bmibaby.com  Easyjet  FlyBE  Germanwings  Iceland Express  Norwegian  Ryanair  Smart Wings  Cimber Sterling  Transavia.com  Vueling.com 

Air-Berlin is a German low cost airline operating a large number of flights from Germany to other European countries. Air Berlin has now expanded their route network to go beyond Europe with flights to the US and Asia. Countries served by Air-Berlin include Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the Canary Islands, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, England (London) and Switzerland.

bmibaby.com fly budget priced flights between airports in England and European destinations like Prague, Paris, Nice, Tolouse, Bordeaux, Milan, Faro, Cork, Dublin, Alicante, Barcelona, Ibiza, Malaga, Murcia, Palma, Geneva, Amsterdam and Belfast. bmibaby.com also serve Edinburgh, Glasgow and Jersey. bimbaby.com operates out of the following English airports: East Midlands, Teesside, Gatwick, Cardiff and Manchester. bmibaby is a subsidiary of British Midland Airways.

Easyjet has been offering budget airfares on European flights since 1995. As of early 2004 they operate over 145 routes in Europe including destinations such as London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Zurich, Budapest, Lyon, Nice, Milan, Venice, Rome, Ljubljana, Athens, Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante, Malaga, Palma, Ibiza and Faro. Easyjet is one of the major European discount airlines.

FlyBE is a UK discount airline operating cheap flights within the United Kingdom and between the UK and Ireland, France, Spain and Austria. European destinations for FlyBE include Prague, Salzburg, Toulouse, La Rochelle, Perpignan, Alicante, Malaga and Faro. On the British isles FlyBE flights are available from Belfast, Dublin, Shannon, Southampton, Bristol, Exeter, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey, Jersey and London Gatwick airports.

Germanwings operates two main hubs in Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart. From there low cost air routes fan out all over Europe including northern European destinations like Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki. In the UK and Ireland Germanwings offer low priced flights to Dublin, Edinburgh, Birmingham and London. In Southern Europe Germanwings fly to Spain and Portugal with destinations like Lisbon, Malaga, Madrid, Barcelona, Palma and Ibiza; France with Paris and Nice; Italy with Milan, Verona, Bologna and Rome; Greece and Turkey with Athens, Tessaloniki, Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. Eastern and Central European destinations for Germnawings include Berlin, Dresden, Warsaw, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow, Zurich and Moscow.

Iceland Express operates low cost flights to and from the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik. Flights are operated every day to London Stansted airport, Copenhagen and Frankfurt. During the summer season some of the routes are flown twice per day.

Norwegian operates a number of low cost domestic Norwegian routes as well as flights between Norway and other European countries. European destinations served include London, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Dubrovnik, Pisa, Sardinia, Nice, Grenoble, Murcia, Malaga and Faro. Norwegian domestic destinations served by Norwegian are Oslo, Ålesund, Alta, Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim, Bodø, Harstad/Narvik, Molde and Tromsø.

Ryanair is based in Ireland has been offering cheap European flights since 1991. Today Ryanair operates 168 routes between 88 airports in 17 countries. Destinations in Northern Europe include Oslo, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo, Tampare, Arhus and Esbjerg. In the UK and Ireland Ryanair serves cities like London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow, Dublin, Shannon and many more. Ryanair also serves destinations in Germany, including Berlin and Frankfurt as well as destinations in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Holland. In Southern Europe Ryanair focuses on Italy, France, Spain and Portugal with destinations for cheap flights including Milan, Rome, Pisa, Genoa, Paris, Montpellier, Barcelona, Murcia, Malaga and Faro.

Smart Wings is a new low cost airline based in the Czech Republic offering cheap flights between Prague and these European cities: Copenhagen, Madrid, Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris, Zurich and Rome.

Cimber Sterling is based in Denmark and fly low cost air routes between the Scandinavian countries and southern Europe. Destinations in Scandinavia include Copenhagen, Stavanger, Bergen, Oslo, Gothenburg, Malmø and Stockholm. In Southern Europe Sterling fly cheap flights to Alicante, Barcelona, Crete, Gran Canaria, Kos, Madeira, Malaga, Milano, Nice, Palma de Mallorca and Rome.

Transavia.com use Amsterdam Schiphol and Amsterdam Rotterdam airports as their hub airports. From there they fly low cost flights to northern European destinations like Copenhagen. UK and Ireland destinations are London and Dublin and in Germany Transavia.com serves Berlin. Transavia.com also fly to a number of southern European destinations in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy including Faro, Malaga, Alicante, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Madrid, Mallorca, Nice, Marseille, Bordeaux, Milan, Pisa, Seville and Venice.

Vueling.com is a Spanish low cost airline offering flights from Barcelona and Valencia to Amsterdam, Bilbao, Brussels, Ibiza, Lisbon, Madrid, Malaga, Minorca, Milan, Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Rome and Seville.