4 Budget Airlines to Avoid

spellbound travels budget airlines to avoid

Whether you’re a fan of flying or it’s one of your biggest fears, if you’re an avid flyer like myself you’re sure to have encountered a few bad flights. As a budget traveller, I can’t be picky when it comes to choosing specific airlines. This means I usually end up on some pretty dodgy flights in order to get from point A to B. With that being said, there are most definitely a few airlines I will not be flying with again! Read below for 4 budget airlines to avoid and one that exceeded expectations.

Worst Budget Airlines

1. Cebu Pacific 

Ah Cebu Pacific, where do I begin? If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines I’d highly recommend avoiding this budget airline at all costs! This can be easier said than done, considering I haven’t seen flights as cheap as theirs in a long time. Ultimately, they’ll save you hours, if not days of travel time between islands. 

Common problems with this airline include:

  • Cancelled flights
  • Flights that don’t land at the destination and then turn around to the previous destination, due to “unsafe conditions to land the plane” (on a clear day, may I add)


Carry-on: Included (7kg)

Checked bag: From $8.75 CAD (20kg)

Seat selection: From $4.60 CAD

Meals: From $4.60 CAD (light snacks)

Final Verdict:

If you’re only planning on using Cebu Pacific for a flight or two, you may be alright but if you have another option, take it! If you end up booking multiple flights with them like I did, be prepared for something to inevitably go wrong. 

Pssst … Planning a trip to the Philippines? Check out my three week backpacking itinerary here!

2. Air Asia 

spellbound travels air asia flight

Air Asia is another budget airline that didn’t prove itself. While it was slightly better than Cebu Pacific, I can’t say it would be my top choice next time I travel. The two flights I took with Air Asia were fine and I can’t recall anything noteworthy. 

My problem with this airline was sparked by a personal experience with a flight from Manila to Hanoi. Among the midst of an issue pertaining to getting a visa to enter Vietnam, I wasn’t allowed to board my flight.

When I found out I wasn’t allowed on the flight, I had to rearrange all my travel plans. I stupidly chose to forego cancellation insurance for not only my flight to Hanoi, but other flights within Vietnam and from Vietnam to Sri Lanka (my next destination) as well. The airline staff were extremely unhelpful. They had no sympathy for me as I cried in the airport alone, trying to figure out my next move. The worst part was that they didn’t try to help me change my flight from Vietnam to Sri Lanka to a flight from Manila to Sri Lanka. I ended up losing far too much money. While it wasn’t necessarily the airlines fault, it was the customer service – or lack thereof that got a thumbs down from me! 


Carry-on: Included (7kg) – very strict with carry-ons

Checked bag: From $25 CAD (20kg)

Seat selection: From $2.80 CAD

Final Verdict:

I wouldn’t necessarily completely avoid this airline, especially because it’s probably the most prominent budget airline in Asia. With that being said, I’d 100% suggest getting insurance on flights with Air Asia, specifically if your travel plans aren’t set in stone. 

3. Wow Air 

spellbound travels wow air flight

To be quite frank, Wow Air simply did not WOW me. Yes, the flight from Toronto (YYZ) to Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF) was hella cheap, the price of checked bags is outrageous and absolutely nothing is included on the flight … not even water!

While looking into the fees for this airline (because last time I flew with Wow Air was in 2017), I discovered that they seem to be out of business? I still don’t really know what’s going on, but whatever it is doesn’t surprise me.


Carry-on: Included (10kg)

Checked bag: From $65 CAD (20kg)

Meals: From $5 CAD – no water or drinks included

Final Verdict:

If Wow Air ever decides to make a comeback, it may be worth the extra few bucks to choose a different airline such as Iceland Air. As for now, it’s definitely one of the budget airlines to avoid.

4. Vueling 

spellbound travels vueling flight

The last time I flew with Vueling was in 2017 and while I didn’t find any huge discrepancies with the airline itself, I didn’t love the flights. The plane honestly felt like it was falling apart and the turbulence was pretty bad for the few flights I took with them.


Carry-on: Included

Checked bag: From $12 CAD (15kg)

Final Verdict:

If you don’t do well with a bumpy ride, this is one of many budget airlines to avoid!

Best Budget Airline



After living in Australia for all of 2018, I had quite a few flights within the country with Jetstar. In comparison to other budget airlines, I could never understand why so many Aussies had a problem with Jetstar! Sure the seating is a little tight and it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but that’s to be expected with budget airlines.


Carry-on: Included (7kg)

Checked bag: Varies

Seat selection: Paying for seat selection is optional (depending on the flight)

Final verdict

I can’t exactly pin down a reason for why Jetstar comes out on top for budget airlines, other than the fact that they deliver the expected. They had amazingly cheap flights within Australia and to New Zealand and I’ve personally had no issues with them!

One last thing ..

I hope you learned a thing or two about budget airlines to avoid. Be sure to check out my ultimate guide to surviving long haul flights while you’re at it! And as always you can always chat with me on Instagram and can expect new budget travel tips & tricks each week!


Amy xx

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