The Best and Worst Airlines for Cheap Flights

Sam DiSalvo
·4 min read
cate_89 / Shutterstock.com
cate_89 / Shutterstock.com

Everyone wants to find cheap flights so they can save more money on their vacation, but searching discount travel sites can be a hassle.

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To save you time and help you get the most bang for your buck, GOBankingRates set out to find the best and worst airlines for cheap flights. In this study, GOBankingRates compared the cheapest available round-trip flights for one person from Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (JFK or LaGuardia).

Read on to see which airlines have the lowest fees and which are the least affordable.

Last updated: Mar. 2, 2021

Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlines

Most Expensive Airline: Frontier

Cost of Round-Trip Flight: Starting at $379.20

Frontier comes in at the most expensive trip out of LaGuardia. This price secures a spot in the main cabin. Frontier does not offer free wi-fi, snacks or beverages. On the plus side, when it comes to baggage, you do get one free personal item.

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Southwest airlines in Las Vegas
Southwest airlines in Las Vegas

Expensive Airline: Southwest

Cost of Round-Trip Flight: Starting at $229.97

Southwest Airlines boasts cheap airfares, but was actually one of the more expensive airlines. Their cheapest ticket comes out to $229.97 round-trip, with no refund available. However, passengers will receive travel credits if you cancel your flight. Passengers also get a personal item, a carry-on and two checked bags for no cost.

Southwest also offers a range of airline perks — such as complimentary beverages, free music and no change fee — so it’s very possible to pay nothing beyond your ticket price. Southwest has an open seating policy, but can purchase EarlyBird Check-In, starting at $15 each way to get to the front of the line.

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Less Expensive Airline: Delta Air Lines

Cost of Round-Trip Flight: Starting at $214.80

Plan to spend $214.80 on your round-trip Delta ticket, and don’t book your flight until you’re sure of the dates, as making changes to your itinerary after 24 hours is non-refundable. You also don’t get to pick your seat, and there are no upgrades available. However, passengers do receive complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as free access to in-flight messaging, movies, and shows.

If you pack lightly, you can save on baggage fees, as Delta allows passengers to bring a carry-on bag and a personal item for free. Otherwise, plan to pay $30 for your first checked bag under 50 pounds and $40 for your second.

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Less Expensive Airline: JetBlue

Cost of Round-Trip Flight: $210.80

Plan your trip on JetBlue Airlines’ BlueBasic tier and spend just over $200 round trip. Passengers get a selection of complimentary snacks and drinks, as well as free access to DirectTV and SirusXM Radio.

You can also bring one personal item and one carry-on bag for free. Checking a bag will cost you $35 for the first one and $45 for the second one. You do not get to pick your seat, and once you confirm your travel plans, they’re final. JetBlue doesn’t offer refunds on BlueBasic flights.

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Less Expensive Airline: Alaska Airlines

Cost of Round-Trip Flight: Starting at $210.80

Tying with JetBlue, taking a Saver flight on Alaska Airlines will also cost you $210.80. Most seats are assigned at check-in, so there’s no guarantee you’ll be sitting with the people you’re traveling with. After 24 hours, Alaska does not offer a refund for these trips.

You’re allowed to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item for free, but checking a bag will cost you $30 for the first bag, $40 for the second and $100 for every bag after that.

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Less Expensive Airline: United Airlines

Cost of Round-Trip Flight: $210.80

This must be the lucky number because United Airlines also charges $210.80 to travel from New York to LA round trip with one free personal item. You’ll also enjoy free snacks, non-alcoholic drinks and access to DIRECTV. However, you can’t pick your seat.

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Less Expensive Airline: American Airlines

Cost of Round-Trip Flight: $210.80

Once again, it’ll cost you $210.80 to fly American in the Main Cabin, but one bonus: you’re able to choose your seat. Currently, you can bring snacks and soft drinks to enjoy on board, but some of the free snacks and drinks may not be available. Passengers can also bring on one free personal item and one free carry-on.

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Cheapest Airline: Spirit Airlines

Cost of Round-Trip Flight: Starting at $115.36

One small laptop bag or purse flies free, but just about everything else will cost you. There’s a charge to check each bag after that, plus passengers aren’t able to choose their seats and there are no refunds on any canceled reservations.

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Laura Woods contributed to the reporting for this article.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Best and Worst Airlines for Cheap Flights