How I travel Low-cost airlines in asia

Asia, and Southeast Asia in particular, is made of thousands of island. The Philippines has 7,000 and Indonesia over 17,000. Even Thailand is best known for its island getaways. But all these remote and badly connected parts call for proper airline connectivity. I got you covered in this post with plenty of local and l0w-cost airlines that most foreigners to the region will not know about.

As many may not be included in the search results from the likes of Kayak or Skyscanner I recommend you check their websites directly.

Vietjet

Although a relevant airline in Vietnam Vietjet has a few flights outside of Southeast Asia’s largest country connection to the region’s capitals. Fly to HCM or Hanoi from Taipei, Singapore, Yangon, Seoul or Cambodia’s two largest cities. No frills and growing. The airline is heavily recruiting to continue to expand

Firefly

A cute name for an airline mostly focused on domestic flights within Malaysia and unusual routes like Ipoh from Singapore, or various destinations from Penang, including Koh Samui, Phuket or Singapore. The airline flies small planes and my experience is a good one with generally departing on time.

Citilink

This is the Indonesian version of Firefly and Garuda’s low-cost airline. Serving destinations in Borneo, Java, Bali or Sulawesi, a great alternative to Garuda’s full service. Previously operating under Garuda’s license it became an independent airline in 2015. Like most other airlines, it uses A320 to service 42 domestic routes.

Lion Air

Indonesia’s largest private carrier launched in 2000 with just one plane. Flying Boeing 737-900ER the airline covers remote parts of the archipelago country and links to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Spring Airlines

Although translated into English as Spring Airlines the Chinese characters actually mean Spring and Autumn. The airline is possibly one of the most innovative and annoying there is. In order to fund the very low fares, its staff uses the flight’s time to sell items to its customers. It is a great way to get to Shanghai cheaply from Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, Hong Kong or Bangkok, if you are willing to put your noise cancelling headsets to the test and have a lot of patience. This is the county’s sole low-cost airline and has customer service to match. Expect very, very little.

Malindo Air

Not really a low-cost airline per se, Malindo offers proper legroom and baggage allowances making it a great alternative to air Asia or even Malaysia Airlines. I have flown them only once but a colleague takes them almost every other week and is very happy with their on time service. The aircrafts are equipped with power sockets and WiFi. Result!

Batik Air

A subsidiary of Lion Air, Batik Air launched services in 2013. It currently operates local Indonesian routes and a flight to Singapore. It owns 30 planes. The airline offers free baggage allowance, entertainment system and free meals on board. Like all other Indonesian airlines on the list, Batik Air is banned from flying into European airspace due to safety concerns.

Regent Airways

The low cost airline of Bangladesh, Regent Airways offers flights connecting Dhaka to Bangkok, Singapore, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Seoul and major Muslim regional destinations such as Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Maldives and Colombo.

Susi Air

Both a private charter and a scheduled airline, Susi Air flies small propeller planes like Cessna and Dorniers across Indonesia.

Final thoughts. Myanmar has a lot of local airlines that serve the various hubs in the country. Since land transport is bad at best, check out the many local airlines for better options. As most of them are not available online your best bet is either a local travel agent or walking into a booking office. Yes, they still exist! If you want a local contact for booking flights or local travel, send me an email (contact details on my Contact page) and I will pass you mine.

  • Jen Ryder Joslin

    This is such a useful post! We live in Cambodia and pretty much always take AirAsia when we fly. Will definitely have to check out these other carriers! Thanks for the info!

    • Ah yes! I am sure you guys are frequent Airasia users. i find AirAsia great but their seats are truly small, it is impossible to go anywhere farther than a couple of hours because you are really a sardine in a can!

  • Arvin- Kohli

    Thanks, I am off to Asia next month, this will be very helpful!

  • Thank you! This post is really helpful! Glad I cam across it!

  • Great list. Some I haven’t heard of before.
    When I travelled round Asia I was mainly on the ground but good to know the wide choice of budget airlines for next time 🙂

    • Some can be so cheap you wonder how it is possible…but traveling via buses and trains can also be a great way to see the countryside

  • Very helpful, some of those I know from traveling in the region but some I have never heard of of. I will make a note and bookmark this one.

  • Erin

    Very interesting. I will keep this list in mind for when I need cheap flights in the region.

  • Ooh! This is a very timely post as I will be flying around SEA soon. Thanks for sharing!

  • Gemma

    Great tips, we spent 5 weeks in SE Asia and heard nothing of these companies, definitely insider local knowledge. Invaluable!

  • Kimberly

    Havent been to SEA yet…but when I go I will defo check this article out 🙂

You may also Like:

Plan and book like a pro
Ways travel bloggers make money