We’ve all heard the horror stories about flying Ryanair. Is it the worst discount carrier? No. Is its bad reputation exaggerated? Yes. I found this out on my 3-hour flight from Luxembourg City to Lisbon. The following ranking of best to worst of the discount carriers are based on my experiences, from mediocre to worst.
Note: I have not flown Spirit.
Note #2: This list is different than TPOL’s Worst Flight Experiences.
11. Southwest: Say what you want about Southwest and its cattle call boarding and its three connection routing, but when I lived in Scottsdale, Southwest was my shuttle to Las Vegas. And when I moved to Puerto Rico, Southwest let me check in my bags and golf clubs for free. But the best thing about Southwest is the Companion Pass. It took me everywhere for $5.60/one way (see SWA Companion Pass Trip Reports) with the option to change flights with no penalty.
10. JetBlue: I switched from Southwest to JetBlue when I could no longer get approved for Chase credit cards (see Goodbye Southwest, Hello JetBlue.) Now, JetBlue is my new shuttle from Puerto Rico to New York. The problem with JetBlue is that it is never on time (JetBlue, The Greyhound of the Skies?), and it isn’t the most comfortable airline to fly (see JetBlue Flight Review: The Good, The Bad, & The Crude & JetBlue San Juan to NYC to Seattle: A Big Price to Pay for a Few Points Spent). On the other hand, JetBlue flies internationally (see JetBlued to Barbados & JetBlue to Colombia: Taking Advantage Of A Flash Sale). Customer service is also hit or miss (hit: Blizzard Gamble? Booking a JetBlue Full Revenue Fare, miss: JetBlue Flight Cancelled: Rebooked a Day Later?). I still can’t get over how they turn the lights on to push credit cards (see JetBlue, Don’t Push Credit Cards on Red-eyes!).
9. Sky Airline: Do you respect wood? Then fly Sky Airline when you’re in Chile (see Sky Airline: A Discount Airline with a Wood Finish).
6. Precision Air: Precision is on the list because it has a bad reputation for delays and flight cancellations. I put it high on the list because of the inconvenient flight schedule. I took the short flight from Zanzibar and arrived in Dar Es Salaam at 9:40PM, leaving me stranded outside of the airport until 4AM (see Dar es Salaam Airport: To Hotel Or Park Bench?).
5. Ryanair: My flight on Ryanair was basic (see Ryanair LUX-LIS: Not as Bad as Expected). I had low expectations but can’t say there was anything I hated about the experience. It’s high on the list because I believe in statistics and the norm for flying Ryanair is horrible. Eventually, I will experience that.
4. Allegiant: Allegiant has received a lot of bad press (see Don’t Fly Allegiant!). From a safety perspective, I’m happy I had no issues (see Flew Allegiant: No Worries, No Problem). From a customer service perspective, I hate this airline. Patience is a prerequisite if you want to fly this airline. My annoyance begins with the cumbersome booking process and continues at the airport. Allegiant is always trying to tack on bag fees at the gate. Even though I know to travel light, it still makes my blood boil when they pull passengers aside and weigh their bags (see Allegiant Airlines Review: Expect Everything, Carry Nothing). And please do not try to rationalize the $5 charge for printing a boarding pass.
3. Wizz Air: Speaking of boarding passes, let’s talk about Wizz Air which tried to charge me 35 euros for printing a boarding pass at the airport. I had attempted to download it on my phone via the app before arriving at the airport but that did not work (see Wizz Air Terminal 1 Tel Aviv: Scammed at The Bus Station). Fortunately, Amex came to my rescue and credited the charge (see Boarding Pass Scam Resolved! Thanks Amex). After that frustrating moment, I was inexplicably, inexcusably, and irrationally detained by Israel security (see “You Leave Only with Passport!” Detained in Tel Aviv Again). Then I boarded my Wizz Air flight and left for Warsaw and waited for my bags to arrive days later (see Bags Recovered! Ending My Tel Aviv Ordeal).
2. Easyjet: My boarding pass and detention story is why I have no love for Wizz Air. My experience with Easyjet’s product itself is why it is #2 on this list. Like Allegiant, take your blood pressure medication because things are going to get bumpy. That’s why the title of my review is EasyJet: Know Before You Go. First, if you’re flying Easyjet from London, realize that you have to go to the inconvenient Gatwick airport (see National Express: Bus From Heathrow to Gatwick). Second, print your boarding pass before you go. Sound familiar? Like Allegiant, be mindful of what bags you bring. Worse than Allegiant, the seats are awfully cramped. Prepare to be squished.
1. Frontier: The winner for worst discount carrier and simultaneously worst company is Frontier! Let’s start with why flying Frontier is awful. There’s a fee for everything (see Free without the ‘R’ spells FEE). Second, there’s this list of complaints from my post Frontier: Rivaling Allegiant For Worst Airline:
- The seats do not recline, at all.
- The tray table, an impromptu pillow, is tiny. This makes sense because everything including a Diet Coke is a charge.
- The armrest is wobbly. Every few seconds, some passenger was flipping it up or down. I can’t figure out where else I have heard that annoying rattling sound.
- The flight attendants feel the need to make an announcement at the top of their lungs. They really pushed the 40k Frontier Barclays card.
- Is it worth repeating that the seats are horribly uncomfortable?
If those factors don’t dissuade you from flying Frontier then please read about how Frontier is the Super Spreader of Covid to Puerto Rico. Frontier even had the audacity to send a blogger to Puerto Rico during the pandemic to chronicle how great it was to get away during this time of death and despair. TPOL was instrumental in getting that post removed (see Post TPOL, Frontier Erases Alfredo’s Adventure to Puerto Rico), an act of cowardice by an awful company.
I miss Wow Air. I have contempt for Frontier. The rest I would fly because ultimately it’s about getting from point A to point B.