Considering flying to Asia with a budget airline just to save a couple of hundred bucks? Before you book that flight, reassess. Many budget airlines are notorious not only for charging you extra for things that should already be included, but also for utilizing aircrafts that are old, uncomfortable and in poor condition.
A flight to Asia from the US takes 10 hours or more. Do you really want to spend all that time in cramped, uncomfortable spaces with barely edible food, bathrooms that are falling apart and amenities at the bare minimum, not to mention paying additional fees for things like luggage?Budget doesn’t necessarily mean great value, especially with airlines, and paying a little more almost always goes a long way. You need not shell out a few thousand dollars for a business class seat or a luxury airline, either.
Flying with one of these affordable airlines will ensure a nice, relaxing 13-hour or so flight during which time you’re very comfortable, well fed and entertained.
EVA Air (Skytrax Rating: 5 stars)
Though famous for their Hello Kitty-themed planes, Taipei-based EVA Air has long secured the hearts of frequent long-haul flyers because of their comfortable seats, well-kept cabins, excellent service, great amenities and good food. Even EVA Air’s Economy cabins are blissfully full-service, with bathroom amenities to keep you fresh, a large collection of movies and shows to keep you entertained, and delicious hearty meals and snacks to make sure you are satiated. Best of all, their flights are affordable, so affordable you’ll want to pay a few extra bucks to upgrade to Premium Economy for larger seats and even more amenities.
Hong Kong Airlines (Skytrax Rating: 4 stars)
The only thing that’s keeping Skytrax from awarding Hong Kong Airlines with its coveted 5-star award is the fact that the Hong Kong-based airline doesn’t have a lot of international long-haul flights. As far as service, amenities, and comfort, this airline gets five out of five. Its good food and wonderful amenities mostly Hong Kong inspired, Hong Kong Airlines has just launched new services out of several airports in North America as well as a fleet of Airbus A350s for maximum cabin comfort. Their entertainment collection is not as big as EVA’s, but they have enough movies to keep passengers entertained.
Thai Airways (Skytrax Rating: 4 stars)
It’s no surprise that Thailand’s flag carrier boasts one of the best affordable flights to Asia. Thailand, after all, is known for its expertise in the hospitality industry. Based in Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, this airline—and by extension, Thai Smile and Nok Air, its regional subsidiaries—offers a level of service as well as food and amenities that will keep both long haul and short haul passengers flying comfortably, even when they’re flying Economy, which was voted the best in 2017. This airline is definitely the way to go when flying to and around Thailand. Thai Smile and Nok Air are perfect, albeit rare, examples of low-cost airlines that really offer great value.
Japan Airlines (Skytrax Rating: 4 stars)
Japan’s flag carrier airline may not have had the best of luck in the past, even declaring bankruptcy back in 2009. But, misfortune hasn’t stopped the Tokyo-based commercial carrier to deliver affordable flight services and deliver them well. Besides being awarded four stars by Skytrax, it was also name-dropped as having the “Best Economy Class Seat” in 2017. Thanks to its 2-4-2 configuration of the Economy class seats on their JAL Sky Suite 787 flights, passengers are given more space, allowing for extra comfort. And this being a Japanese company, fancy amenities like scented wet towels, green bamboo massage sticks and postcards are also on hand.
Asiana (Skytrax Rating: 5 stars)
Korean Air might be South Korea’s better-known airline, but Asiana definitely takes the lead when it comes to quality of service, comfort, and meals. In fact, it was voted the third best Economy Class Airline in the world, just behind airline Qatar Airways. A flight in coach with Asiana means a spacious cabin, no-frills yet very comfortable seats, large windows, in-flight slippers, an extensive wine list and, of course, hearty Korean dishes. Not to mention, a wide selection of movies to more than last you a long haul flight. Best of all, it’s also very affordable, which means you can shell out for a Premium Economy seat without breaking the bank.