Ever wished you could see the world? Ever wanted to cross the ocean and experience firsthand the distinctive beauty of Europe, Asia, Africa, or Australia? Well, believe it or not, you can! International travel doesn’t have to be expensive. In this post, I’ve rounded up eight of the best and cheapest international airlines in the world. Seeing the world has never been easier!
When I started this blog, I did it with the goal of helping more people discover the joy of traveling. For me, traveling the world isn’t just a great way of seeing interesting sights and experiencing new cultures. It’s also a way to discover yourself. Visiting foreign countries is especially enriching because it opens your eyes to how other people live, while also renewing your appreciation for your own life.
That said, if I could offer only one tip for traveling abroad it would be to do your homework. Obviously, this means researching the place you’re going ahead of time and planning accordingly. But it also means researching the way you plan to get there. Different airlines fly to different places, offer different amenities, and come with different price tags.
If you want to find the cheapest international flights, check out my picks for the best low-cost international airlines below!
My #1 tip for booking cheap international flights
A lot of people think that international travel is out of their price range. However, it doesn’t have to be expensive. In a minute, I’ll take you through my list of the cheapest international airlines around. But first, I’d like to tell you about one of my favorite ways of finding the best international flight deals.
For the past two years, I’ve been using Scott’s Cheap Flights (now called Going) to find incredible discounts on international flights, as well as domestic ones. It’s easy to use; all you have to do is type in your point of origin and your preferred destination. Before you know it, Going will start sending mistake fares and other extra cheap flight deals directly to your inbox for FREE!
In 2022, Going’s email alerts helped me save thousands of dollars on flights. On average, I save around $300-500 roundtrip on selected flight routes. With a premium membership, you can save even more on cheap international flight sales. It only costs $49 annually, and it gives you access to more features and better discounts.
Use my discount code Jon20 to save 20% when you join!
How to Book Cheap International Flights: The 8 Cheapest International Airlines in the World
From Europe and Asia to South America and the Caribbean Islands, the world is full of interesting vacation spots. Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t experience the joys of international travel. Here are my top 8 picks for the cheapest international airlines in the world:
As the flag carrier airline of Australia, Qantas is famous for its high standard of safety. In fact, they’ve frequently been named the safest airline in the world. Qantas primarily flies to and from Australia, but their reach extends to cities on every continent. If you’re looking for the best price for international flights into Australia, Qantas is definitely the best choice.
Qantas has a variety of food options on their flights. Though they vary depending on fare classes and flight length, the selection on all flights is extensive. First-class passengers may choose from a menu of gourmet meals, while economy passengers are offered sandwiches, wraps, salads, and cheese platters. Most of Qantas’ Airbus fleet comes equipped with both economy seats (with a pitch of 31”) and first-class seats (with a pitch of between 38” and 42”).
Qantas also has one of the most prolific loyalty programs of any airline in the world, with close to half the Australian population signed up at 12.3 million members. The Qantas Frequent Flyer program rewards loyal customers with frequent flier seats and discounts on first-class upgrades, hotels, and more.
A budget airline headquartered in Germany, Eurowings flies all across Europe and beyond. Their ultra-low-cost business model and diverse selection of routes make them an ideal choice for those searching for the best prices for international flights.
For a budget airline, Eurowings has a surprisingly fresh and diverse selection of in-flight dining options. This includes sandwiches, french fries, currywurst, pasta, and a large variety of snacks, beverages, and alcohol. They have several vegetarian and gluten-free options as well, and all business-class tickets and above come with a free meal. In terms of legroom, economy-class seats have a pitch of 30” to 32”, and their first-class fare has a pitch of 45”.
Note that Eurowings operates in partnership with several other airlines. So you could end up boarding a United, Swiss International, or Canadian Airlines flight to get to your destination, or as a connecting flight when booking via Eurowings. Eurowings also has an attractive loyalty program where you can get discounts or free flights by redeeming your miles. You can combine these miles with other miles you have accrued traveling on any Lufthansa Group airline.
Looking for cheap flights to Asia? Scoot is a great low-cost airline for travelers looking to visit places such as India, Japan, or China. They are also ideal for adding a leg to your journey through Asia for cheap. Not only do they offer long flights from far-off cities like Berlin and Jeddah. But many of their flights are direct flights. Despite this, they have some of the lowest prices you’re likely to find, making them one of the cheapest international airlines in the world.
Scoot’s In-flight meal selection is fairly large and offers an appropriate assortment of Asian-style hot meals. This includes noodle bowls, curry chicken meals, or vegetarian curry and rice. They also have a light menu with sandwiches, wraps, and desserts. Keep in mind that hot meals will have to be pre-ordered 72 hours before your flight. Scoot sets itself apart from other international budget airlines in that there is no fee for carry-on bags. The bag weight limit is also higher than most other carriers.
Because Scoot is headquartered in Singapore, the KrisFlyer program allows travelers to earn miles and combine them with miles earned on any airline within the Singapore Airlines Group. Seat pitch is 31” in their economy class and 38” in their ScootPlus fare class (which is essentially their version of first class).
Specializing in low-cost flights to Europe, as well as a handful of destinations in Africa, easyJet is known for having some of the best prices for international flights anywhere. You can get a great deal by traveling with easyJet. However, it’s important to be informed about their practices and policies in advance.
Although easyJet’s prices are very good, the cost can quickly go up if you’re not careful about avoiding extra fees. For example, easyJet is designed for short, direct flights, and as such passengers are allowed one medium-sized carry-on. Even small bags like purses and camera bags are considered separate items, so make sure you only have one.
The in-flight food for easyJet is surprisingly good and not particularly expensive. The trade-off for their substantial in-flight menu is that there are no complimentary snacks or drinks served on easyJet flights. There are no fare classes on easyJet-flights, which means all seats are economy class with a pitch of 29”. So long as you are unbothered by non-reclining seats and no complimentary food, the price of these flights makes easyJet a prime airline for bargain hunters.
This Irish low-cost airline is infamous for its zany publicity stunts, but the real draw is its flight deals. Ryanair flies to destinations all over Europe, as well as a few locations in North Africa. So, there are plenty of routes to choose from no matter where you’re looking to go.
Ticket costs from any airline will vary in price depending on the demand, time of year, and several other factors. On average, though, Ryanair’s ticket costs, especially for those flying out of Dublin, are the absolute lowest of any airline. That undoubtedly makes Ryanair the best airline for travelers wondering how to get a cheap international flight from Dublin.
If you want to keep your ticket cheap, book online and be aware of fees. In some cases, the fee for seat upgrades with extra legroom is the same price as the ticket itself! That said, a flight to Glasgow from Dublin typically will cost you less than €13. They have a modest food menu with a few sandwiches and snacks, as well as a robust alcohol menu.
6. Wizz Air
This Hungarian low-cost airline flies just about anywhere in Europe. It also flies to many locations in North Africa, the Middle East, and West Asia. As with all low-cost carriers, Wizz Air’s business model is built around offering the cheapest possible upfront fare. Though this means there are sometimes inconvenient fees for certain amenities. If you go in knowing that, Wizz is a great European airline for booking cheap international flights.
Wizz Air does not have a loyalty program where you can earn miles. However, there is a discount club that gets you a €10 discount on flights and a €5 discount on checked bags. For frequent flyers looking to get the most out of the Wizz Air experience, they also have a program called Privilege Pass, This gives members priority boarding, seat selection, and two bags automatically on every flight.
Wizz Air has a robust menu of in-flight foods including sandwiches, soups, and snacks such as hummus with breadsticks. Food can be purchased from their in-flight magazine, which also includes a full cocktail menu. The price of seating varies; it can be anywhere from €4 to €60. As with many budget carriers, all Wizz tickets share the economy fare class, with a 28” seat pitch.
7. Southwest Airlines
Undoubtedly the world’s best-known and longest-running budget carrier is Southwest Airlines. Their prestige and good name through the decades have made many budget airlines seek to emulate their practices. Although the majority of Southwest flights are domestic U.S. flights, they have a fair amount of international flights from the U.S. to Mexico, Central America, and multiple islands in the Caribbean.
Not only is Southwest going to have some of the best international flight prices you’ll find flying out of the U.S. They also have better baggage accommodations than any airline out there. Southwest passengers get to check two 50 lb. bags for free while also bringing a carry-on and a personal item for no additional fee. Southwest flights shorter than 176 miles will have no food, only drinks (both with and without alcohol), while flights longer than 176 miles (i.e. most international flights) offer complimentary snacks and alchohol/non-alcoholic drinks.
The seat pitch on all Southwest flights and fare classes is between 31” and 33” of room. Southwest also has a loyalty program called Rapid Rewards that lets you earn points. You can then redeem these points on hotels, rental cars, gift cards, and flights on other carriers.
8. Air Asia
Headquartered in Malaysia, Air Asia is a low-cost airline that flies to almost every major country in Southern Asia. The airline review website SkyTrax has spotlighted Air Asia as offering the best international flight deals in the world for the last 13 years in a row.
Air Asia’s high-quality service and amenities includes an in-flight food menu made entirely of Asian-style favorites such as pad thai. Note that the menu varies depending on where your flight is headed, but every flight offers a lot of options, including vegetarian meals.
The seat pitch on most AirAsia flights is 29” on all fare classes. If you are on an Airbus A320neo and flying first class, though, you will have one extra inch of legroom. Like many of the cheapest international airlines today, Air Asia has a loyalty program that lets you earn points as you fly. AirAsia Rewards allows travelers to redeem their points for hotel discounts, car rentals, and discounts on local activities. This makes it perfect for anyone planning a vacation in Asia.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the cheapest international airlines
Knowing where to find the cheapest international airlines in the world is the just first step in planning your vacation. If you really want to ensure a fun and affordable trip, here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about cheap international flights:
How can I get the best prices for international flights?
The best way to book international flights is to comparison shop. The carriers outlined in this post are some of the cheapest international airlines around. If more than one has a route to the vacation spot you’re eyeing, investigate to see who has the better deal.
Also, I recommend booking your flight as early as possible. As the departure date grows closer, the supply of seats will get lower, meaning that ticket prices will increase. Save yourself a lot of money (and a headache) by booking when customer competition (and airfare) is at its lowest.
That said, if you really want to know how to book international flights cheap, the best way to do it is to use Going (formerly known as Scott’s Cheap Flights). This service allows you to enter in your point of departure and desired destination and instantly get cheap international flights sent your email for free! For a small fee of $49 a year, you can upgrade to a premium membership, which comes with bonus features and even better discounts.
To save 20% off a premium account, use my discount code Jon20 today!
When are international flights the cheapest?
The affordability of airfare is contingent on a number of factors, including where you’re leaving from, whether you’re flying non-stop or making connections, and the current cost of jet fuel. One of the biggest factors affecting ticket prices, though, is the time of year.
In general, the best time of year to score discounts for international flights is in the winter. Specifically, the months of January and February are considered to be outside the “peak season,” meaning that fewer people are traveling, which drives ticket prices down. Another good time of year for bargain hunters is September. It’s just far enough away from the busy summer months and the holiday season to ensure low prices.
What airlines have the most international flights?
When it comes to US carriers, no airline offers more international flights than United Airlines, which currently services 137 international routes. American Airlines comes in second with 134 international routes. However, United and American both tend to charge higher prices than the cheap international airlines listed elsewhere in this post. Keep that in mind when comparison shopping.
Outside the U.S., the carriers with the most international flights are Turkish Airlines (with 250 routes), Ryanair (215 routes), Deutsche Lufthansa AG (207 routes), British Airways (200 routes), Air France (191 routes), and Wizz Air (176 routes).
What documentation do you need to fly internationally?
Different countries have different documentation requirements. As such, if you’re going to fly internationally, it’s essential to have a valid and up-to-date passport. You should also make sure to carry a valid national ID and/or driver’s license. Before leaving the country, be mindful of checking the expiration dates of these documents. The last thing you need is for your passport to become invalid in the middle of a trip.
Many countries today also require health documentation, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The most common health documents required for international travel are vaccination certificates that show you are protected against contracting potentially infectious illnesses. This is particularly important when traveling by airplane, where many people may spend hours together in a small, contained space.
If you have travel and/or medical insurance, I recommend bringing documentation of that with you as well. Even if it’s not required, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What’s the best way to stay safe when flying internationally?
It’s a dangerous business, going out your front door. When you’re far from home, anything can happen. That’s why it helps to be prepared. In addition to getting yourself vaccinated and carrying documentation with you, I recommend getting a check-up from your doctor before you leave. If you have any medications you take regularly, don’t forget to bring them with you. Keep them stored somewhere safe, where you’re unlikely to lose track of them.
The same goes for any other valuables, including passports, IDs, house and car keys, jewelry, electronics, cash, and credit cards. You might want to invest in a travel wallet or portable safe. Check out my blog about the Best Travel Gear in 2023 for some helpful recommendations.
Another thing everyone should do when traveling internationally is to research the customs and norms of the country they’re visiting. Always be mindful that certain phrases and gestures that are benign in the U.S. are considered offensive elsewhere. Think of it like this: a foreign country isn’t just a tourist attraction, it’s also the home for the people who live there. Be respectful when visiting someone else’s home, just as you want them to be respectful when visiting yours.