‘Tis the season to travel.

What’s that? It’s too expensive to fly during the holiday season you say? And you can’t afford the plane tickets for your family?


budget airlines
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Well, you don’t have to worry as we’ve got you covered. Our article aims to list the top 10 budget airlines in Asia.


1. AirAsia


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You’ve probably heard of this one. And if you’ve been to Malaysia’s low-cost carrier terminal (KLIA2), you would’ve undoubtedly witnessed the fleet of bright, scarlet red aeroplanes lined up neatly across the terminal at some point.

AirAsia was founded on 20 December 1993 and is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The low-cost airline has been in the forefront of the low-cost airline industry since its inception more than two decades ago.

The company was even named the world’s best low-cost carrier at the recent 2018 SKYTRAX World Airlines Awards. More impressively, the airline has been consistently winning this award for 10 years in a row. A record-breaking feat indeed and it’s no wonder AirAsia is at the top of this list.

AirAsia flies both domestic and international to more than 165 destinations spanning 25 countries. The majority of its destinations being within the Asia region.

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Bonus: Check out AirAsia X if you’re looking for budget options for long-haul flights. Head over to airasia.com and airasiax.com for more info.


2. IndiGo


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Coming in at second, this India-based low-cost airline burst onto the scene in August 2006 and has cemented its position as one of the best budget airlines in Central Asia. The company was even named the best low-cost carrier in Central Asia/India from 2012 to 2018.

Apart from the recognition and awards, IndiGo also holds the title of the largest airline in India in terms of passengers carried and fleet size. Moreover, the airline also owns one of the largest fleets of Airbus jets in Asia.


3. Jetstar Airways


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Jetstar Airways is an Australian low-cost airline that has its base of operations in Melbourne. It was founded in 2003 and is a subsidiary of Australia’s national airline, Qantas.


jetstar airport
Image via wikipedia.org


The airline operates an extensive domestic, regional, and international network from Melbourne Airport. It has a fleet of Airbus A320 and Boeing 787 Dreamliners and is often praised for its quality service and value for money.

Jetstar Airways is also a regular fixture in best airlines awards. More particularly, the airline has secured its position in the best in Asia and best in Australia and Pacific categories.


Jetstar planes
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Bonus: Jetstar Airways has sister airlines such as Jetstar Asia Airways, Jetstar Pacific Airlines, and Jetstar Japan flying from various Asian destinations.


4. Peach Aviation


peach aviation
Image via flightsnation.com


Peach is a Japanese budget carrier that has hubs in Osaka and on the island of Okinawa. The company was formed in February 2011 and commenced its operations the following year on 1 March 2012.

A relatively new airline, the company has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Peach has become one of the top budget carriers in the region and is set to grow further from here onwards.

The airline has even managed to bag one of the top 10 spots for the best low-cost carrier in Asia in 2018.


5. PAL Express


PAL Express
Images via sunstar.com.ph, commons.wikimedia.org


PAL Express has undergone many rebranding phases. It was first known as Air Philippines, then Airphil Express at one point, and finally PAL Express. The airline flies from various places in the Philippines such as Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Zamboanga.

From March 2013 onwards, the airline (now known as PAL Express) had its business model changed into a full-service carrier with a low-cost model. Essentially, the PAL Express was meant to be a close rival to Cebu Pacific’s dominance in the budget travel market in the country.

This strategy has allowed the airline to quickly rise up in the ranks especially in the Asian region. Becoming one of the best budget airlines since its launch (or relaunch) as a low-cost carrier.


PAL express fleets
Image via aviationnewsphilippines


Currently, the airline is in the process of acquiring fleets to support its domestic and international route expansion plan.     

Bonus: Check out Cebu Pacific for an alternative to your budget flight options.


6. Lion Air


lion air
Image via asia.nikkei.com


The indonesia-based low-cost airline, Lion Air, is next on our list. This airline runs the largest airline network out of Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

Founded in 1999, this Lion Air is considered the country’s largest privately run airline, and the second largest low-cost airline in Southeast Asia (after AirAsia). True to its low-cost business model, the airline has given the opportunity its customers (especially Indonesians) to travel on a budget.

One thing to note though, the company’s quick growth has not come without any setback. For instance, Lion Air has a tendency to constantly delay flights.     

Despite this, Lion Air still remains a popular choice among the budget conscious.


7. Nok Air


nok air logo
Image via englishnews.thaipbs.or.th


Next up we have Nok Air, a low-cost airline operating mostly domestic flights in Thailand. “Nok” is a Thai word which means “bird”. Don’t worry, you’ll definitely get the correlation once you lay your eyes on their planes.  


nok air
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Every Nok Air plane has a unique paint job featuring a smiling beak painted on the nose of the plane.

Nok Air operates out of Bangkok’s low-cost terminal, Don Mueang Airport. The airline has been in the business for more than a decade and has garnered various achievements in this time. More recently, the company managed to secure a spot in the coveted top 10 best budget airlines in Asia award.


8. Spring Airlines


spring airlines
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This airline is based in Shanghai and was established on 26 May 2004. A relatively new company at the time, the airline was meant to be a cheaper alternative to the heavyweights of the airline industry in the region. Their more “premium” rivals being Cathay Dragon, Hong Kong Airlines, and China Eastern.

Nonetheless, it’s difficult for Spring Airlines to compete at the same level as the heavyweights. Looking at the number of daily return flights alone, Spring Airline definitely falls behind. Still, the airline is a great choice if you were looking to book with a budget-friendly airline.


9. SpiceJet


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Another Indian budget airline, SpiceJet has been making waves in the low-cost airline market in its native country of late. The airline operates domestic services to destinations in India such as Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Goa,  and so on. Other than that, SpiceJet does have international routes including Kathmandu, Bangkok, Guangzhou, Dubai, etc.

SpiceJet has even won domestic awardsas well as being placed in the top 10 best budget airlines in Asia.


10. VietJet Air


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VietJet is a relatively young low-cost airline that was launched in 2011. It’s also considered the first private airline to be established in the country post-Vietnam War. VietJet caters to both domestic and international passengers alike.

Fair warning though, the airline is known for its impromptu mid-flight antics which may not be family friendly.  


vietjet stewardess
Image via canoe.com


We’re of course talking about the shows by the stewardesses that the airline has had in the past. They are often controversial and the airline has even been slapped with a fine for breaking guidelines at one point. But, other than that, VietJet is assuredly a good choice when it comes to budget flying.




Now that you’re up to speed on the top 10 budget airlines right here in Asia, what’re you waiting for? It’s time to plan your next, great budget holiday for you and your family.