How Does Southwest and RyanAir Do it? Cheap Airfare [Infographic]

cheap airfare infograhicA fascinating bit of information from this week’s infographic: 35% of intra-Euro flights are now on cheap airlines. In the US we’re already fortunate to have a low-cost carrier like Southwest Airlines dominating the skies. To brighten your eyes, and hopefully your wallets, we bring you this week’s Cheap Airfare Infographic.

Cheap Airfare Infographic Key Take-Aways:

  • Low-cost Carriers average 20 more seats per plane–meaning it will be slightly more cramped for you.
  • Low-cost Carriers quicker turn-around times-this benefits you in that there are often more flight times available to choose from.
  • Low-Cost Carriers: smaller airports utilized mean you will also save on parking.
  • Regular Carriers: larger airports may mean more amenities, and that the airport could be closer to you (yet more busy!)
  • Regular Carriers: sell through several outlets-travel agents and other websites. This means it may be harder to discover a great fair with an airline like Southwest because they are saving some of their money by selling to you directly.

Check out Catherine’s post on Scoring Great Deals On Airfare!

Make sure to take a look at the very bottom “graph” of the Cheap Airfare Infographic. I have wondered in the past how Low-cost carriers do it–and this multi-pie chart helps break down how they do! (Click on the Infographic to Zoom In)

Cheap Airfare InfographicSource
[Featured image courtesy of Justin Mezzell]


  1. I don’t think Southwest is that bad, but Frontier is usually cheaper on fares, but they nickel and dime you to death. They are now charging $1.99 for any beverage during flight, even water. You also have to pay more not to sit in the back of the plane. I’d almost rather pay a bit more on the ticket to avoid all the asking for extra money for things.

    • Yeah being nickled and dimed feels horrible. 1.99 for water? Come on. I get soooo thirsty on a plane for some reason, I NEED water.

      I like sitting at the front of the plane if I have a carry on. With checked bags, the back of the plane doesn’t bother me, and I’m actually closer to the bathroom anyhow.

      Interestingly, if a plane crashes you’re much more likely to survive at the back of a plane anyhow!

  2. Finally there is some relief for our purse from these airlines. Only problem with these low fair airlines is that you have seats cramped which can be uncomfortable for longer journeys. Best suited for max 1 to 2 hours journey

    • I fully agree! I’m 6’3″ and I can’t stand cramped flights for more than 2 hrs. I don’t know about RyanAir, but most of SouthWest’s flights are shorter anyhow, meaning it’s not much of a problem to me.

  3. Great post. I was wondering the same thing. My only issue is that for longer flights (e.g. inter-continental, I like to fly business class).

  4. I’d rather have a low cost carrier and a slightly more cramped feeling than pay a ton for my flight. It’s so temporary that more cramped just isn’t a big deal for me. You can always stand up!

    • Ha! That’s funny. I actually get up 2-3 times on 4 hour flight. I have too! Plus with me hydrating so much…

      Flights across the Atlantic I find myself hanging out in the back of the plane with flight attendants some of the time.

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