Since I started travelling I’ve done a solid amount of flying and have used a fair number of different airlines for different routings and reasons. I’ve also been asked a lot about who I fly with and the best airlines for various parts of the world – both on the ground and via email.

So I thought I’d compile a list of everyone I’ve flown with, where I went and what I thought. Hopefully it’ll give you some new options and help you decide who to fly with and where.

I’ll also be updating the list as and when I add new airlines… 

Latest update – Dec 2014

 

Aerogal

morocco flight iberia airline review

Iberia – Not Impressed!

Route; Guayaquil – Galápagos Islands

Aerogal are one of the only airline to fly to the Galápagos so I was between a rock and a hard place with using them. Even still the service was good and I can’t really fault much, unfortunately though due to the monopoly on the destination it wasn’t the greatest value flight at $400 return.

Pro – best option for Galapagos

Cons – not the best value (prices sit around $300-400 for a return)

 

Iberia

Routes; Marakech – Zurich, London – Guayaquil, Lima – London

Personally I loathe Iberia and they’re one of the worst airline I’ve flown with. Frequent delays, poor in flight meals, lack of entertainment systems (even on long haul flights) and bad service – not to mention the incredible lack of leg room on their shorter haul services. Unfortunately I’ve had to use them a few times due to odd destination, but they still don’t represent good value for money. Avoid if you can help it.

Pros – goodnight routes for South America

Cons – rubbish service, food, frequent delays and lack of onboard entertainment. Poor leg room on short haul flights

 

Swiss

Routes; Zurich – Agadir

In true Swiss form my experience with them was efficient, fast and comfortable. I flew with them at Xmas time and they even handed out Xmas cookies as a snack! Amazing!

Pros – fast, efficient, good service

Cons – can be pricey

 

Emirates

emirates flight backpacker

Emirates – Usually My Preferred Airline

Routes; London – Bangkok, Singapore – London, Brisbane – Singapore, Sydney – Christchurch, Auckland – Sydney

Up until last month Emirate was by far my most preferred airline and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Great flight route, on board service, amazing food and 30kg of luggage makes them awesome for any long haul flight. Unfortunately on my return from Singapore they managed to smash up my surfboard pretty bad – is till haven’t heard a reply from the numerous emails I’ve sent their way which has made me dubious to fly with them again, despite my growing amount of frequent flier miles.

Pros – amazing service, great food, awesome value and 30kg of inclusive baggage.greta fl that paths too (eaten more so given their alliance with Qantas)

Cons – they smashed my surfboard up and customer service department still haven’t replied

 

Easy jet

Routes;  London – Agadir, London – Zurich, London – Malaga, Bristol – Reykjavik

I think easyjet have a bit of a bad reputation in the low cost airline market but I can’t fault them at all. I’ve nabbed some great value flights (including £100 return to morocco!) and they don’t charge much for surfboards either. You can manage your booking, check in and boarding pass direct through their iPhone app too which is heaps handy.

Pros – awesome value, manage you booking via their app, great network within Europe, chela surfboard carriage.

Cons – prices can get expensive last minute, lack of non European network

 

Ryan Air

Routes; Bristol – Dublin

Every part of the Ryan Air experience was pretty horrific! Their website is a nightmare to use and looks like it’s straight out of the 80s, everything’s an added extra and the boarding process was like a cattlemarket, they don’t even pre allocate seats which makes boarding a free for all. I only used them as the flight was dirt cheap and I was literally only travelling with hand luggage!

Pros – cheap (if you only travel hang luggage only!)

Cons – rubbish service, add ons mount up quickly, constant upsell, horrible website

 

Jet Star

easy jet airline review

Easyjet – Surprisingly Good!

Routes; Cairns – Perth, Darwin – Sydney, Cairns – Sydney 

Jet stars network across Australia and South East Asia make it great for internal flights on the cheap and I flew cairns – Perth for around £100 all in! It’s a low cost airline so don’t expect much in the way of added extras, but it did the job and was comfortable.

Pros – good internal network across Australia and even into Asia, good value, comfortable

Cons – not much outside Australia

 

Cathay Pacific

Routes; London – Cairns, Sydney – London

My first fully solo long haul flight was with Cathay and I can’t complain at all. The whole experience was fluid and easy, good food and good service. The only reason I haven’t used them since is the fact they are slightly higher end on hunger pice market and most of my adventures don’t really fit into their flight routes.

Pros – excellent service, food and comfort

Cons – limited network  can be pricey

 

Thai Airways

Routes;  London – Bangkok, Vientiane – Bangkok

Thai are another great airline I’ve used and represent great value. The added bonus for the Bangkok flight is it’s direct which cuts the travel time right down and surprisingly does t break the bank. Their service is always good, although they’re slightly pricey for internal Thai flights.

Pros – direct to Bangkok, great service

Cons – can be pricey for internals

 

British Airways

jetlag plane airline reviews

Sunset Flights Are Always Best!

Routes;  Madrid – London

I flew with BA on the way back from South America last time (it was a codeshare with Iberia) and despite my reservations it was pretty ok. Nothing amazing, nothing to really complain about! My aircraft actually got hit by lightning on the way home, but that’s got nothing to do with the pilot anyway!hahaha!

Pros – HEAPS of routings available out of the UK across numerous airports, lots of codeshare flights

Cons – can be pretty pricey, not the best for surfboard pricing and size

 

American Airlines

Routes; London – Miami

This was actually one of my first long haul flights. It sucked! The food was bad, the aircraft was heaps old and I really didn’t enjoy it that much at all. The only saving grace was the fact the aircraft was pretty empty so I could steal a middle block of seats and lie down for a nap!

Pros – Lots of routes into USA and internal within it too

Cons – Bad food, lack of onboard entertainment and customer service

 

Air Asia

Routes; Phuket – Bali, Bangkok – Bali, Bali – Singapore, phnom Pehn – Bangkok 

When it comes to value and routings Air Asia is one of my most preferred airline.heir network across Thailand , Malaysia and South East Asia Asa whole make it amazing bang for your buck. I’ve used them numerous times as they’re flight prices often compete with overland costs – especially when your short on time! My phnom Pehn – Bangkok flight was only $35!

Even their long haul legs (Bangkok – Bali is over 5 hours) were comfortable. Sure things like meals, entertainment and hold luggage is extra, but they still work out super cheap. Surfboard carriage is cheap too and I’ve had no issues with them.

Pros – excellent value for money, extensive south East Asian network, some long haul flights to Australia, chela surfboard carriage

Cons – not inclusive of food, hold luggage or on board entertainment 

 

South African Airlines

Routes; London – J’Burg, Port Elizabeth – London

I used SAA for my main flights during my surf trip in South Africa as they had the best trade off in price and flight time – J’Burg was a direct flight form London and my layover on the way back from Port Elizabeth was only a couple of hours. Despite what I had heard service was really good and the whole thing was a very comfortable experience. My only issue was the fact they wouldn’t accommodate my surfboard which sucked.

Pros; Lots of direct flights, best layover options and open jaw tickets from other airports in the country, good legroom, good food options, best price v flight time

Cons; Wasn’t the cheapest, restrictive surfboard carriage policy (under 6’6)

 

Cebu Pacific

Routes; Cebu – Siargao

I used them for my internal flight to get to Siargao Island for a surf trip, mainly as they’re the only ones who fly into the island! Unfortunately our outbound was cancelled due to a storm and we missed our onward flight to Palawan, however this issue is more with the state of Siargao Airport that Cebu Pacific. To their credit though they refunded our missed flight (also with Cebu Pacific) and rearranged our Siargao – Cebu one pretty easily at the airport.

One thing I will mention though is they have a reputation for cancelling flights (our Cebu-Siargao was moved forward a day) so I would leave an extra day or two if you’re connecting to expensive, international flights.

Just be heaps careful of added taxes and baggage when purchasing online…oh and they also weigh you at the airport as you check in on some of the short haul routes!haha!

Pros – Super cheap, lots of internal flights from Cebu, very good customer service

Cons – Flights frequently moved (although with plenty of notice), website sometimes doesn’t work, they weigh you before you board the plane!

 

Philippine Airlines

Routes; Bangkok – Cebu, Cebu – Bali

I flew Philippines Airlines during my first trip to the Philippines mainly as they had the best price v routes into the country…unsurprising as the national carrier of the country! Booking online through their site can be rather tedious, but you can also book some flights via STA Travel too (like I did with my Bangkok – Cebu flight). In flight entertainment was pretty lacking considering the length and cost of the flight and actually now I think about it ALL my flights with them have ben delayed!

Pros; Pretty cheap flights from SEAsia to Philippines, e-boarding passes compatible with iPhone Passbook (really helpful and fast actually!)

Cons; Lack of in flight entertainment on some flights, rubbish meals, all my flights have been delayed!

 

Oman Airlines

Routes; Bangkok – Zurich

An odd choice of airline to Zurich but it had the best layover and price option from Bangkok! Legroom was ok although the meals weren’t heaps amazing. Still price was the main selling point here and it was considerably cheaper than other airlines I looked at, nothing major to complain about or praise so I guess that’s an average flight!haha!

Pros; Great price on long haul flights

Cons; Wasn’t too stoked on the food!

 

Mango Airlines

Routes; J’Burg – Cape Town

South Africa airlines low cost, internal carrier proved to be a really great, cheap flight from J’Burg to Cape Town. I had plenty or leg room and they had a solid amount of time and routing options throughout the country.

Pros; super cheap, lots of flight paths, good amount of time options

Cons; can’t really complain!

 

Have you guys got any awesome or terrible airline experience you’d like to share? Whack them in the comments!

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12 Responses

  1. Amy

    Chris! I flew from Australia to Milan with Malaysia and Oman air for a grand… Ridinkulously cheap and I got 30kg of luggage. The food and service were pretty sweet, especially on Oman air (date pancakes for breakfast, um, yes!). They did manage to lose my bag somewhere along the way due to my quick plane change in Oman but they were great about finding it…daily emails updating me on its whereabouts and they even delivered it to Switzerland for me…

    Reply
    • Chris

      Just realised I completely forgot to include Oman in the list – will update that later! I flew Bangkok-Zurich one way and they were the cheapest option and surprisingly good. The only down side was the flight times were pretty crap – but I guess that’s the trade for cheaper flights!

      Reply
  2. Jodie Taylor

    Yes, Air Asia is by far the best low cost airline I’ve come across.

    I recently wrote on post on how to find the cheapest flights. One of my top tips is to sign up to the AirAsia (and any other airlines) newsletter so you get alerts of when sale starts.

    Air Asia have a few big sales every year. I once got a flight for £1 (plus tax etc, about £5 total) from KL -> Jakarta.

    They also now do a service for AirAsia X (long haul) where you can upgrade to a flat bed for sometimes a very small fee. I paid $50 to upgrade from KL to Seoul. The lay flat bed and duvet were amazing, but nothing on the smug feeling of superiority watching people walk past to economy (for once!) x

    Reply
    • Chris

      Loved Air Asia – really don’t have any qualms with them and their new app makes everything even easier to do!
      Good to know about the upgrade fee – I’d love to fly business and $50 is nothing in the grand scheme of things to arrive relaxed and rested!
      Will have to check out your post in a mo – feel free to whack a link in the comments for other people to check out!

      Reply
  3. Michael Huxley

    Completely agree with you on the awful experiences with Iberia and Ryanair! Worst airlines I have ever flown with! BA seriously need to up their game and lower their prices before I consider them anything more than just … meh.

    Air Asia are absolutely amazing though, although Ive noticed the great prices are getting less frequent over time. Emirates are still by far my favourite airline, but that may change when I check out the extra leg room in budget class on Singapore air later this year! ;-)
    Michael Huxley recently posted..Do you really need anti malarial medication on your gap year?My Profile

    Reply
    • Chris

      Yeah I dropped BA off my list of people to fly with until they recently changed their surfboard policy!
      Totally agree on their pricing though, they just don’t really compete anymore.
      Ooooo Singapore hey? My parents flew to NZ with them and had a great experience – I think I might use them for my long haul now too.

      Reply
    • Chris

      hahaha yeah they don’t do it in half measures hey Lindsey. Yup the whole Ryan Air experience from website to flight was terrible!

      Reply
  4. Tiffany

    Oh man I love easyjet, it can be a bit of a pain in the ass, but ultimately nothing beats their prices. American Airlines is just the worst – they have really old and uncomfortable seats, most of the time there is no entertainment system to be found and the food is bad.
    Tiffany recently posted..The Time I got Stranded in a Sand SeaMy Profile

    Reply
    • Chris

      I love the new Easyjet app for sorting my bookings – but yes their boarding procedure leaves a lot to be desired!

      Reply
  5. Mike

    Best airline I’ve had the good fortune of flying with is Air New Zealand. Pros include the safety videos you actually want to watch and excellent service and food on a clean and comfortable aircraft which had a massive poster for The Hobbit on the fuselage. Don’t think it was too expensive either at £367 one-way LAX to LHR.

    Reply
    • Chris

      Nice! I actually watched one of their middle earth safety videos online the other day which was hilarious! I’ve yet to fly with them myself but great to know they’re a good option.

      Reply

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