Which European budget airline is the best? Ryanair, Wizzair, EasyJet and Eurowings compared
Published 09.12.22 by

Who are the large european budget Airlines?

Ryanair is a low-cost airline based in Dublin, Ireland. It was established in 1985 and operates from its main base at Dublin Airport. Ryanair's route network serves 34 countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It employs over 12,000 people and it carried 130 million passengers in 2018.

EasyJet is Europe's leading low-cost airline. It operates in more than 30 countries and offers a variety of services, such as flights, ancillary products, and other services related to air travel. The company's head office is located in Luton, United Kingdom. EasyJet has been operating since 1995 and has grown to become the second largest low-cost airline in Europe with a fleet of over 200 aircraft.

Wizz Air is a low-cost airline headquartered in Budapest, Hungary. The airline operates over 2,000 flights per week to more than 130 destinations in 34 countries. It established in 2003 and has grown rapidly since then. It is the largest low-cost carrier in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the second largest low-cost carrier in Europe overall. In 2017 Wizz Air carried 14 million passengers and generated $2 billion revenue.

Eurowings is a German airline which was founded in 2002. It is a subsidiary of Lufthansa. It has many international destinations and offers cheap flights to Europe and, via its subsidiary Eurowings Discover, to North America, South America and Africa as well as Asia.

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Ultra-Budget vs Budget

The concept of low budget airlines is relatively new to the market. They emerged as a result of the deregulation of the aviation industry in 1978. The airlines that offer ultra-low budget flights are called "no thrills" airlines, and their business model is based on offering cheaper fares in exchange for fewer amenities.

In contrast, the low budget airlines offer a more traditional experience with some extras such as baggage allowance, food, and other services at an affordable price. These carriers still have to compete with the ultra-low budget airlines on price, but they also have to provide other services that customers may expect from a full-service airline.

What is the best European budget airline?

Ryanair, europes largest airline, uses only Boeing 737s which are bought in bulk to save cost. They fit up to 189 people with a seat pitch of at least 30" (76cm) which is average for the industry. Ryanair offers cheap flights on a huge network of routes. You have to make sure you take the appropiate sizes of hand luggage, since the restrictions are very different to major carriers. You also have to be aware of the Ryanair Check-In, which can only be done online. If you have to Check In at the airport, you will have to pay a huge fee, oftentimes double the tickets price. A major pricing detail is Ryanairs attention to supply and demand, which can get you great deals in a certain timeframe. You can use the Find A Flight Flight Calendar to find the best time to catch a cheap flight!

EasyJet uses Jets from the Airbus A320 family. The seat pitch at EasyJet is 29" (74cm) is slightly under average and might not be comfortable for everyone. EasyJet offers cheap flights mainly into destinations in the UK, but also some flights all around europe. Due to many different practices, an EasyJet flight will be slightly more expensive to fly on compared to Ryanair, however it comes with larger hand luggage and some other minor benefits, such as some flights going to more central airports at their destinations for which EasyJet still offers affordable flights.

Wizz Air focuses mainly on the eastern european market, with only a few destinations in western europe on flights to the east. Out of all the airlines shown here, Wizz has the smallest seat pitch at only 28" (71cm). They operate the Airbus A320 family, just like EasyJet does. Their price niveau is most times also higher than Ryanair on a comparable flight, however Wizz sometimes flies into more central airports compared to the ultra low budget Ryanair. If you are unsure if Wizz will be a good option for your flight, our Find A Flight Flight Map may be interesting for you!

Eurowings, which is Lufthansas budget Airline, is a major carrier in central Europe serving many popular tourist destinations, with their main hub Düsseldorf (DUS) being in West Germany. They are the only airline on the list with dedicated business class seats. The seat pitch is at least 30" (76cm), sometimes 32" (81cm). Many destinations are flown to multiple times a day. They focus on the higher-up section of budget traveling, with flights starting at around 30€ compared to 15€ at Ryanair. Eurowings operates the A320 family with the Jets often coming from Lufthansa. As a Lufthansa company, Eurowings has access to Lufthansas extensive network of charters, with Wet-Leases of two Boeing 737s flying out of Köln-Bonn (CGN) and some flights being operated by AirBaltic A220-300s.

Conclusion: What is the best low-budget airline in Europe?

This question can only be answered if you ask yourself if you strive for ultra low budget travel or only low budget travel. A low budget airline such as EasyJet, Wizz Air or Eurowings may not always have the cheapest fair, however it offers more. Meanwhile, ultra low budget airlines like Ryanair only offer you the actual flight with nothing else to expect. However, this oftentimes gives them a price advantage.

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