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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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!
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!
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!
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!