There are between 20-40 low-cost airlines in Europe. Some low-cost airlines are much bigger and popular than others and fly everywhere in Europe, while others are smaller and have a limited choice of flights. All of them share one thing: they made traveling affordable to so many people and now flying between two countries in Europe is almost as easy as taking trains or buses between two cities.
Before booking any tickets, be sure to compare flights on flight comparison websites like Skyscanner.
Don’t assume that low-cost airlines will always have the cheapest tickets. With low-cost airlines, you always need to pay for checked baggage, so if you need a checked bag, and any extra comfort like a possibility to choose your seat, airport check-in etc. Sometimes you might be able to find tickets from a regular airline for almost the same price as low-cost but with all the extras included.
I also like to use Rome2Rio to get itinerary ideas, when I am not sure that flying is the best option, just to get some ideas about the possible route from one point to another.
And now let’s get to the list!
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Top 8 low-cost airlines in Europe
Easyjet and Ryanair are synonyms for cheap flights in Europe. They are two largest low-cost airlines in Europe.
Ryanair is the biggest low-cost airline in Europe. I have a feeling that they fly everywhere! At the moment Ryanair flies to more than 30 countries, not just in Europe, but also in North Africa and the Middle East. Just look how impressive their route map is.
Ryanair fares are already low, but they also frequent ticket sales, so it’s worth signing up for Ryanair newsletter to always get the best deals.
Ryanair has Ryanair rooms program, where you earn 10% travel credit every time you book accommodation through their website. You can use this credit to pay for your Ryanair tickets.
Things to remember when you fly with Ryanair:
You can bring only 1 small bag on board (35cm x 20cm x 20cm). It can be something like a small backpack, laptop bag or handbag and the item must fit under the seat in front of you.
Your second larger bag (55cm x 40cm x 20cm, up to 10 kg) will be put on hold free of charge and you need to pick it up at the baggage belt at your destination airport.
If you buy Priority & 2 Cabin Bags, you can carry both bags on board and you will be one of the first passengers to board the airplane.
I always buy Priority & 2 Cabin Bags when I fly with Ryanair. It costs around 5-6 € and saves time at the destination airport, so I find it is worth it.
EasyJet is one of the most popular low-cost airlines in Europe. Their route map is impressive as well and they have lots of flights from the UK.
EasyJet allows to bring only one cabin bag on board, but it is bigger in size than most other low-cost airlines allow (56x45x25cm including handles and wheels). There is also no weight limit. Easyjet warns that only 70 cabin bags fit on board, the rest will be put on hold free of charge. So if you want to carry your bag on board, it’s better to be one of the first in line for boarding.
Additional bag with the dimensions 45x36x20cm is allowed for Flexi, Upfront, Extra Legroom customers and easyJet Plus cardholders.
Wizz Air is a Hungarian low-cost airline. Wizz Air used to fly mostly to Eastern and Central Europe but is quickly expanding flight network with new destinations. For years, it was the only low-cost airline flying from Ukraine, and it still my favorite low-cost airline.
Wizz Air allows only one item of hand luggage, maximum 10kg weight and 55 x 40 x 23 cm.
Similar to Ryanair, Wizz Air puts cabin bags on hold free of charge. With WIZZ Priority service you can make sure that you can take your big bag on board and one additional smaller bag (40 x 30 x 18 cm) under the seat in front of you.
Wizz Air has the partnership with booking.com: when you reserve accommodation on booking.com with your Wizz Air membership number, you can get 10% back as Wizz Air credit and use it later to pay for tickets.
Another good option for people who fly with Wizzair at least a few times a year is WIZZ Discount Club.
The standard membership costs 29.99 EUR / year, and as a member, you and one companion get the following benefits:
- minimum 10 euro discount on flights
- minimum 5 euro discount on baggage purchased online.
Wizzair also has regular ticket sales. The deals become available to the WIZZ Discount Club members first, and after 1-2 days for everyone else.
Volotea is a Spanish budget airline. Most Volotea’s destinations are located in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and Greece. Volotea has quite a generous baggage policy compared to other low-cost airlines in Europe:
- passengers can carry two items on board for free, total weight maximum 10 kg
- maximum dimensions of the larger bag have to be 55x40x20 cm, smaller bag up to 35x20x20 cm
Vueling is also a Spanish low-cost airline. They have many destinations in Europe. Vueling has the same cabin baggage policy as Volotea:
- one item of hand luggage up to 10 kg and no larger than 55x40x20 cm.
- small bag, not more than 35x20x20 cm to put under the seat in front of you.
Eurowings is a low-cost airline from Germany. It is a part of Lufthansa Group and you can even collect or redeem Miles & More miles with Eurowings flights. Eurowings also have their own award program called Boomerang Club.
Eurowings flies to more than 200 destinations in Europe and beyond.
They offer mystery flights at a fixed price from some airports. With blind booking, you can choose a departure airport and one category, for example, “Sun and beach”, “Party”, “Shopping” etc. After you complete the booking, you will find out the destination. The prices for blind booking start from 66 euro.
Eurowings has different fare options, but even with the basic fare, you are allowed to bring one item of cabin luggage (max. 8 kg, 55 x 40 x 23 cm) and a small personal bag (40 x 30 x 10 cm) free of charge.
WOW air is a low-cost airline from Iceland. WOW air has the base in Reykjavik and offers cheap flights from Europe to US and Canada (with a transfer in Reykjavik). When you book a transatlantic flight with Wow air, you can do a longer stopover in Iceland.
Basic fares for transatlantic WOW air flights are usually really low an include only a flight ticket and one small personal bag with dimensions 42x32x25cm and weight up to 10 kg. You need to pay extra for everything else: a normal size carry-on, checked baggage, seat reservation etc. Note that there is also no meal service unless you book Wow Premium fare, pre-order meal or buy snacks on board.
Condor is another German airline that is famous for flights to most popular holiday destinations worldwide. In Europe, they mostly fly to Spain, Italy, Greece, Croatia – basically everywhere where Europeans like to go on vacation.
The large carry-on bag has to be no bigger than 55 x 40 x 20 cm. Weight depends on the class you book. For example, it is 6 kg for Economy Class and 10 kg for Premium Class. You may also carry a small personal bag free of charge.
As usually with low-cost airlines in Europe, there is no in-flight catering on short flights for Economy class. But there is a warm meal on long-haul flights for everyone.
Do you know any other low-cost airlines in Europe that were not mentioned in the list?