Which Airline? My Experience…

I certainly wouldn’t call myself a frequent flyer, to me a Frequent Flyer is someone that is up in the skies multiple times a week! However I have been on a fairly decent number of flights for someone who is just 25, I have travelled on a range of different sized aircraft on flights as short as 45 minutes and up to 8 hours+.

I have also travelled on a variety of different airlines from all over the world and in this post I am going to give you my opinion of which airline I recommend you go for if you have the choice and which you should aim to stay clear of. I am also going to give you my advice for how to enjoy your flight if you do go with any of these airlines.

A Disclaimer: The following content is based purely off my own experiences as a paying economy class passenger on all the following airlines. I do not have any affiliation with any of the airlines mentioned or there partners or airline alliances. Your experience may be different to mine. 

While some details of this post may be specific to a flight I have had, the majority of my advice will be based off the typical service you will receive of the airline regardless of what flight it is. 

The airlines I have been on as of March 2019 are –

EasyJet – British Low Cost Short Haul Airline (No Alliance) 

Airline Pros –

  • Very cheap baseline prices, even add ons are fairly priced when compared to other airlines
  • Generous legroom and seat width
  • Introduction of modern A320Neo aircraft means comfortable flight with mood lighting
  • Although not inclusive onboard food and drink prices reasonable when compared to other airlines
  • Friendly crew that are non-bombarding for onboard sales
  • Reasonably punctual flights
  • Very generous cabin baggage policies even for a budget airline

Airline Cons –

  • All seat selection comes at a cost, no matter how early you book and how late you check in.
  • Many EasyJet aircraft are parked off gates meaning you are bussed to and from aircraft which is rather inconvenient and time consuming

If you fly with EasyJet –

  • If you are not carrying a lot of luggage you can easily get away with going hand luggage only.
  • There is a strong chance you will to enter and depart the aircraft by stairs meaning for a prompt exit upon landing consider paying a little extra for a seat near either fwd or aft doors.
  • If you are tall even a middle seat is fairly comfortable for a flight last a couple of hours so don’t worry if you do get a middle seat as a result of a randomly allocated seat.

Overall – ‘Cheap way to hop around Europe’ – Highly Recommend!

RyanAir – Irish Low Cost Short Haul Airline (No Alliance) 

Airline Pros –

  • Rock bottom prices, even the airlines longest route (5 hours, UK to Cyprus at £250 return) is very cheap when compared to other airlines
  • Some routes offer several flights a day meaning more choice

Airline Cons –

  • All seat selection comes at a cost, no matter how early you book and how late you check in.
  • Minimal leg room, to the point where it is uncomfortable and narrow seats
  • Most routes are to outer city airports rather than inner city, however this is done to save money which in turn results in cheaper fares
  • Rather confusing and petty baggage policy which seems to change pretty much every couple of months, leading to catching out passengers
  • Crew rather unprofessional when dealing with incident onboard (what I have seen first hand!)
  • Crew bombard passengers with various sales
  • Flights are very often quickly turned around when on the ground, meaning the cabin if quite often has rubbish left over from the previous flight.

If you fly with RyanAir –

  • Remember that you get what you pay for, be sure to check the baggage policy prior to travel and ensure you are following it accordingly, you potentially risk being charged at the gate for anything extra.

Overall – ‘You get what you pay for and nothing else’ – Don’t recommend for service, but recommend for cost.

Lufthansa – German Mixed Haul National Carrier (Star Alliance)

Airline Pros –

  • Offer great choice of European routes as well as routes out of Europe
  • Prices can be quite reasonable when factoring in checked baggage and seat selection
  • Can choose your type of seat package when booking the flight (seat selection, checked baggage and other extras) at a reasonable price
  • Very friendly and attentive crew
  • Inclusive snack and alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks, even on a basic ticket
  • Leg room and seat width really generous

Airline Cons –

  • Some transits between flights can be between major German airports with very short transit times and a security checkpoint to pass through
  • Be aware you may actually bored an aircraft you have just exited if transiting

If you fly with Lufthansa –

  • If you have booked a ticket with seat selection, book a row with the emergency door as the legroom is significantly better than other seats. You can find out more on which seats are the exit row seats on SeatGuru.com (more info at the bottom!)
  • If you have to transit through Munich or Frankfurt airport, get through the terminal as quickly as possible. Do not dawdle

Overall – ‘Outstanding economy class experience onboard Germanys national carrier’ – Would definitely recommend

American Airlines – American Mixed Haul Airline (OneWorld Alliance)

Airline Pros –

  • Very friendly crew that offer a good service onboard
  • Great IFE system with great selection of films
  • Decent legroom and seat width
  • Comfortable cabin with mood lighting on long haul aircraft
  • Can choose seats onboard all flights you book with Qatar Airways from the moment you book with them
  • Very generous baggage allowance, even on economy class tickets.
  • Food and rink service onboard really good, even in Economy class

Airline Cons –

  • Little to no information on US B&CP procedures prior to landing, which with anyone of country wouldn’t be an issue but with US being quite strict on the matter, would have been nice to get a better idea on what to expect
  • No landing cards offered onboard, even when expected at border control

If you fly with American Airlines –

  • Be aware that some of the seats that are at the bag of the aircraft and have a bulkhead behind them offer zero recline

Overall – ‘Great American Airline’ – Would recommend!

TAP – Portuguese Mixed Haul National Carrier (Star Alliance)

Airline Pros –

  • Short haul flights are inexperience (e.g. MAN>LIS return in January £110)
  • Generous in flight snack and inclusive alcoholic or non alcoholic drinks
  • Really comfortable cabins with a range of new aircraft, great legroom
  • In seat universal charging points on short haul aircraft

Airline Cons –

  • All seat selection comes at a cost, no matter how early you book and how late you check in.

If you fly with TAP –

  • Either choose a seat as earlier as possible and get a front row of economy or leave it last minute and you may well get an entire row to yourself.

Overall – ‘Great national carrier of Portugal thats fairly priced’ – Highly recommend!

Jet2 – British Low Cost Short Haul* Airline (No Alliance) 

Airline Pros –

  • Can be really cheap fare if you book as a Jet2Holiday
  • Seats have a good amount of legroom

Airline Cons –

  • If booking flight only, checked baggage can be really expensive
  • All seat selection comes at a cost, no matter how early you book and how late you check in. Unless you book as a package holiday
  • Found flights over summer holidays to be significantly more expensive with Jet2 when compared to other carriers over the same period (MAN>SPU return £350 September!)
  • In flight service expensive and duty free is bombarding
  • Jess Glynnes ‘Hold My Hand’ is played more times that you can count, it gets incredibly irritating
  • Most flights full of pissed up Brits!

If you fly with Jet2 –

  • Consider booking as a package holiday as you do save a significant amount of money if you were to factor in checked luggage and potentially airport transfers, compared to booking it all separately

Overall – ‘Definitely Britains cheesiest airline, but they do the job’ – Would recommend

AirBaltic – Latvian Short Haul Only National Carrier (No Alliance) 

Airline Pros –

  • Cheap flights to and from the Baltic Region as well as within the region
  • Friendly crew onboard

Airline Cons –

  • Normal seats can be quite cramped with not much legroom
  • Some airports (such as VNO) do not allow you to acquire boarding pass through phone, meaning more time spent in the airport check in area, rather than just going airside

If you fly with AirBaltic –

  • Look at choosing the seat by the exit door, on some flights the seat in front of it would be removed, meaning very generous legroom!

Overall – ‘Good little, less known airline’ – Would recommend!

Austrian Airlines – Austrian Mixed Haul National Carrier (Star Alliance)

Airline Pros –

  • Regional aircraft are in 2×2 configuration
  • In flight snack and drink served, even on short haul flights

Airline Cons –

  • Flights can be quite expensive, especially for regional flights (e.g. WAW>VIE one way £140)
  • Many regional aircraft are parked off gates meaning you are bussed to and from aircraft which is rather inconvenient
  • Checked baggage is rather expensive

If you fly with Austrian Airlines –

  • Book your flights as early as you can to stop an already expensive fare from going up

Overall – ‘Very comfortable flight, even in a turbo prop!’ – Would recommend

Flybe – British Domestic and Short Haul Airline (No Alliance) 

Airline Pros –

  • Most aircraft used operate in a 2×2 configuration meaning you have a little bit more space and seat width when compared with a 3×3 configuration
  • Staff are really friendly

Airline Cons –

  • Many Flybe aircraft are parked off gates meaning you are bussed to and from aircraft which is rather inconvenient
  • All add ons to your flight, such as checked luggage are rather pricey when compared to other short haul airlines
  • Onboard food and drink are really pricey

If you fly with Flybe –

  • If you are not carrying a lot of luggage you can easily get away with going hand luggage only.
  • There is a strong chance you will to enter and depart the aircraft by stairs meaning for a prompt exit upon landing consider paying a little extra for a seat near either fwd or aft doors.

Overall – ‘Perfectly fine for a short haul flight’ – Would recommend for short flights

StobartAir – Irish Short Haul Airline (No Alliance) 

Airline Pros –

  • Most aircraft used operate in a 2×2 configuration (such as ATR-72)

Airline Cons –

  • Quite expensive flights, even for short haul domestic flights
  • Operate cramped turbo prop aircraft with poor legroom
  • Operate a number of Flybe routes, so you may not know you are even flying with StobartAir until its too late
  • Rude staff that bombard you with onboard sales, even on flights as short as 45 minutes

If you fly with StobartAir –

  • If you are tall either book an aisle seat or ask to swap with your fellow passenger. Be aware that on certain aircraft like the ATR-72 there is only aft boarding, so if you book a seat at the fwd of the cabin you will be last off!

Overall – ‘Overpriced Domestic Alternative’ – Avoid.

Qatar Airways – Qatari Mixed Haul National Carrier (OneWorld Alliance) 

Airline Pros –

  • Can choose seats onboard all flights you book with Qatar Airways from the moment you book with them
  • Very generous baggage, even on economy class tickets.
  • Very comfortable cabin with mood lighting. Seats are wide with great legroom.
  • Great on board food and drink with inclusive alcohol (great for an arabic carrier to cater to other religions and faiths)
  • Very friendly crew that go the extra mile, even keep serving drinks even after main dinner service
  • Very punctual airline that operate new fleet of aircraft

Airline Cons –

  • IFE screens can be quite unresponsive on some aircraft.

If you fly with Qatar Airways –

  • Choose your seats as soon as you book, which you can do at no extra cost and choose a seat right at the back and on the aisle, you can put your seat back causing no issue to anyone else and the toilets are in close reach.
  • Consider doing a transit tour in Doha if flying via Qatar.

Overall – ‘Outstanding airline that I look forward to flying with every time I book with them’ – Would highly recommend!

British Airways – British Mixed Haul National Carrier (OneWorld Alliance) 

Airline Pros –

  • Free seat selection <24 hours before departure
  • Long haul IFE has a good choice of films and TV shows
  • Friendly short and long haul crew
  • Reasonable leg room and seat width on long haul flights

Airline Cons –

  • All seat selection comes at a cost, no matter how early you book and prices on long haul routes can be as much as £58 per long haul and £20 for short haul flight!
  • Still operating 747’s for a lot of long haul flights that are showing age now!
  • In flight food and drink are nothing special on the long haul flights
  • No inclusive food or drink on any short haul routes (almost all European national carrier airlines have this service)
  • Flights are expensive for short haul routes
  • Very unfunny in flight safety video that is shown on every flight and gets boring after the first time watching it
  • Seat legroom poor on short haul flights

If you fly with British Airways –

  • Ensure you check in as soon as possible under 24 hours before departure and choose a free seat preferably on the aisle

Overall – ‘Taking the Great out of Great Britain, a rather poor national carrier’ – Would look at other options.

SWISS – Swiss Mixed Haul National Carrier (Star Alliance)

Airline Pros –

  • Operate brand new A220 (formally C-Series) aircraft with a 2-3 seating arrangement inside, very comfortable inside with exceptional legroom

  • Spotless cabin
  • Inclusive snack and drinks, including SWISS chocolate towards end of flight
  • No charge for choosing your seat
  • Very friendly cabin crew
  • No bombardment of inflight sales from the crew

Airline Cons –

  • Smaller SWISS aircraft will be parked off gate meaning you will be bussed to the terminal building in Zurich.

If you fly with SWISS –

  • Be sure to book a window seat when flying out of Zurich the view is incredible, be sure to try a SWISS beer onboard too!

Overall – ‘Absolute treat to flying SWISS’ – Could not recommend enough.

KLM – Dutch Mixed Haul National Carrier (Sky Team Alliance)

Airline Pros –

  • Very friendly cabin crew
  • Inclusive snack and drink on board no matter the duration of flight
  • Clean cabin with comfortable seating

Airline Cons –

  • Flights rather expensive for distance travelled
  • Customer service charge extortionate fees to change details on flights

If you fly with KLM –

  • If you are wanting to change a flight back to the UK from AMS and your fare does not cover changes, look into buying another flight with an airlines like EasyJet that operate an equal service to KLM, it was save you a significant figure by buy another flight and not getting on your original flight, compared to paying the fee to change the flight!

Overall – ‘First impressions of KLM are very good’ – Would recommend!

In Conclusion…

I hope that you found this first hand guide of the various carriers that I have used in my past travels useful and informative, as I travel around in 2019 and even 2020 I aim to share another one of these posts and my thoughts on more airlines I will fly with!

Also I recommend looking at SeatGuru.com, this site gives you specific seat reviews onboard a variety of aircrafts and the operating carriers. If you are tall or big and make the most out of every inch of space of your seat this site will be really useful for you!

What has been your dream flights, or horrors and who were you flying with? Let me know in the comments below!

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