The Top Budget Airlines From Coast to Coast

A flight on a budget airline could be the way to make your next vacation a reality.

I don’t know about you, but summer vacation feels like it was ages ago. Sunny days spent exploring and relaxing on my own schedule feel far, far behind me. And that means I’m itching to plan my next vacation. 

With inflation on the rise and the holidays around the corner, spending money on a vacation can be hard to justify. Planning ahead is key to getting a good deal. Especially if you have a restricted schedule where you have to request time off in advance, it’s important to book those flights and hotel rooms or Airbnbs well in advance.

Getting the best deal on airline tickets involves a lot of different factors. A good place to start is to look at the airlines in your area with the best deals. Because the airline industry changes so much, the carrier with the best deals last year might not be the best choice this year. 

Take a look at the best value airlines, from coast to coast, as you start planning your next vacation.

West Coast

Bixby Creek Bridge on Highway 1 at the US West Coast traveling south to Los Angeles, Big Sur Area, California

The West Coast is known for its sunny weather (well, maybe not in Washington or Oregon) and its high prices (especially in California). Whether you live on the West Coast or you want to travel in the region, affordable airfare will help you make that vacation a reality. 

Avelo Airlines

Avelo Airlines operates on both the West and East Coasts. On the West Coast, this budget airline flies to cities in California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. The main hub with the most flights is in LA. If you live in or near any of the cities that Avelo flies to, check them out for low airfare. The West Coast flights are only to and from cities on that side of the country; this airline does not offer cross-country flights.

Breeze Airways

For anyone living in California, Arizona, Nevada, or Utah, Breeze Airways could be a great option for your next vacation. This budget airline offers flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Provo. 

One of the main perks of flying with Breeze is that it’s easy to flex your flight. You can rebook or cancel up to 15 minutes before your scheduled departure without incurring a penalty.

Southwest and Mexico

Many of the budget airlines that serve the West Coast also offer flights in the southwest region. Some of these budget airlines have been in the industry for years. 


Southwest airplane leaving trail on cloudy day

Of course, Southwest Airlines originally began as a regional airline serving the Southwest, but the company now serves the entire United States and Mexico. Southwest is a step above many budget airlines, but this airline doesn’t offer quite the same level of service as major airlines. 

Personally, I recently had a disastrous trip with Southwest. So while I appreciate their low prices, considering all the delays (related to staffing) that I experienced, I would suggest looking at other budget airlines if cost is your main concern. 

However, because Southwest operates so many flights, you do have the advantage of knowing that you’ll be able to hop on another flight if you miss yours or it’s canceled – as long as that alternate flight isn’t overbooked. And be prepared to pay the fare difference.

Southwest remains a strong contender for an affordable way to fly, especially for anyone who wants to go to Mexico. The airline flies to Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, and Cozumel.


While many of the East Coast airlines serve the Southeast as well, there’s one airline in particular I want to highlight. 

Silver Airways

Silver Airways is a small-budget airline that serves only a handful of cities in the United States, along with quite a few destinations in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. In the US, Silver Airways offers flights from New Orleans, Charleston, Key West, Tallahassee, Orlando, Jacksonville, Greenville-Spartanburg, Tampa, Savannah, Huntsville, Pensacola, and Ft. Lauderdale-Miami.

Silver Airways’ fares are low, and you can choose from three different tiers of tickets: Refundable (higher-priced), Freedom, and Escape. Each offers its own slightly different set of perks. If you’re in the southeast and you want to escape to the Bahamas, Silver Airways may be the budget airline you’re looking for.

Read More: Will an Airline Credit Card Actually Save You Money?

East Coast

Lighthouse on the east coast

Some of the budget airlines that operate on the West Coast also offer flights on the East Coast. However, don’t expect a flight from San Francisco to New Haven. These flights are concentrated in the East Coast region and don’t offer connections across the country.

Avelo Airlines

Again, you should definitely check out Avelo Airlines for affordable airfare. They fly to many destinations on the East Coast and in the mid-Atlantic. 

New Haven, Connecticut; Wilmington, Delaware; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Orlando, Florida, are Avelo’s east coast hubs. However, the airline flies to many other cities in the region. Make sure you plan far in advance because Avelo doesn’t offer flights to every destination every day.

Breeze Airways

Breeze also serves plenty of East Coast destinations, and it even stretches its service all the way west to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Breeze flies to New Orleans, Bentonville, and Fayetteville, as well as plenty of Florida beach towns.

Norse Atlantic

Norse Atlantic currently offers nine different routes. The airline operates flights to and from Oslo, Norway to Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York, and Orlando. It also currently has routes from London and Berlin to New York, from London to Oslo, from Berlin to LA, and from Berlin to Fort Lauderdale. 

Even if you choose not to fly with Norse Atlantic, you might find yourself on one of their connecting flights – or you might see if they work with an airline that can get you to your destination. Norse Atlantic currently partners with airlines to provide flights to over 600 connecting destinations.


Do you dream of international travel but can’t stand those four-digit airline ticket prices? Check out Play. If you can get to either New York City, Baltimore, Boston, or Washington, D.C., on an affordable flight, then consider flying Play to your final international destination. Ticket prices are unbelievably low for transatlantic flights.

Tips for Traveling on Budget Airlines

Departures and arrivals sign in foreground and airplane in background

Flying on a budget airline will help your bank account, but it won’t give you the same experience that you’d have on a major airline. Be aware and prepared before you buy your tickets.

Expect Limited Amenities 

You’ve heard the term, “You get what you pay for,” and nowhere is that more true than with budget airlines. These airlines “unbundle” different services that customers have come to expect from their air travel experiences.

Checked bags? There’s a fee for that (usually even for the first one). Snacks and water? Some budget airlines charge fees for these basic amenities as well.

Budget airlines take every step they can to economize. Seat sizes (and legroom) are extremely small. Some budget airlines even remove the seatback pockets because these require extra cleaning labor.

Ultimately, here’s the takeaway: if you want an amenity such as a checked bag or in-flight snacks (which you might think is a basic service and not an amenity at all), be prepared to pay for it. 

But if your goal is to travel as lightly and cheaply as possible – and you’re flexible – then you should take a look at these budget airlines.

Be Flexible and Aware

Flexibility is definitely key when it comes to flying budget airlines. Because of their reduced budgets, they often only offer flights on certain days of the week. 

For example, let’s say Airline X only offers flights from Los Angeles to San Diego on Tuesdays and Saturdays. If you miss your Tuesday flight on that airline, then you’re stuck in Los Angeles until Saturday. That is unless you can find, and afford, a flight on a different airline. 

If you do find a flight on a different airline, don’t automatically assume the budget airline will reimburse you for its cost. Check your specific airline’s regulations to be certain, or contact their customer service department. 

Make a Backup Plan

Airplane flying away from sunset

Even if you don’t miss your flight, there’s always a chance it could get delayed or canceled. Delays may be easier to manage, but if the flight’s canceled, you’ll be stranded until the next flight departs. 

While it’s impossible to predict whether your flight will be delayed or canceled in advance, it’s important to be prepared. Plan in advance for what your next step is in either scenario. You can’t be too cautious when it comes to air travel. 

It’s important to be aware of your rights as a passenger. Check out this information from the US Department of Transportation on federal regulations regarding delayed and canceled flights

For up-to-date information about flights that are either delayed or canceled, check out or

Consider Major Airlines 

Alternatively, those on a tight schedule may want to avoid budget airlines altogether. If you need to be certain that you’ll arrive at your destination by a specific time no matter what, look for low fares on major airlines that often have several flights departing for a destination per day.

Read More: Best Credit Cards For Travel Points

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