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Top 5 South East Asian Budget Airlines

By on Aug 4, 2012 in Travel Advice | 3 comments

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With the huge growth of budget airlines over the last 5 years in South East Asia,  air travel has become a whole lot more affordable. It has also opened up a range of destination that use to take days of intense travelling just to visit. Personally I still prefer getting on a bus and hammering out the distances, however in the age of the “Flash Packer” who is limited by time and other constraints, budget airlines can help make the most of your adventures. With budget airlines seemingly popping up every other day in South East Asia, its hard to know which ones to choose. So with that in mind here is my list of top 5 budget airlines in South East Asia that will help you travel to your next destination.

 Top 5 South East Asian Budget Airlines

1. Air Asia

You really can’t go past them. Apparently owned by Richard Branson’s former accountant, this great airline offers cheap tickets to almost every major city in South East Asia. Based out of Kuala Lumpur, I’ve flown them countless times with no delays and good service.

 Top 5 South East Asian Budget Airlines

2. Jetstar

Qantas’s budget arm, Jetstar hubs out of Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore. Good prices if you want to fly into Vietnam or get connections onto Qantas to Australia. I’ve flown them a few times and found their aircraft to a be a little older however the service is fine. Being backed by Qantas is always a good thing.

 Top 5 South East Asian Budget Airlines

3. Tiger airways

Based out of Singapore, Tiger Airways is continuing on the trend of caging tigers by cramming people into small seats. I fly them when I have to, mainly due to their incredible low costs to some destinations. There on time performance can be questionable, however if you’re on a budget and want a safer airline, these guys will do it.

 Top 5 South East Asian Budget Airlines

4. Firefly

Another new one based out of Kuala Lumpur. Seemingly owned by Malaysian Airlines who wanted to create a “community” airline, this one specialises in cheap destinations within Malaysia and Borneo. Safety records seem to be intact and this one is worth researching.

 Top 5 South East Asian Budget Airlines

5.  Lion Air

The largest private carrier based in Indonesia and specializes in island hopping the great archipelago. Their website is advising a brand new fleet, however I have always slightly worried about aircraft maintenance done in Indonesia (especially after I worked for one). This is one of the better budget airlines in Indonesia; however try the other airlines mentioned above first.


This list doesn’t include any government carriers, however they’re always worth a look in for budget deals. Personally I find Air Asia generally has the better deal all-round for my travelling adventures. Check here for every budget airline in South East Asia. Happy travels!


  1. D

    January 27, 2013

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    I have a very bad experience with Jetstar. they delayed the connecting flight with no reason, staff not giving any solution, they didnt help nor did care at all. just throw us aside, we hv to wait 24 hours. so I will never use jetstar when I hv to go on a strict date. it really causes me a lot of stress. not even counting the money.

    used lion air several times and theyre OK.
    air asia still the best though

  2. Highcliffe Trio

    March 24, 2014

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    I’m trying to work out the cheapest way to fly into china from one of any of the neighbouring South East Asian countries around mid June time. Any suggestions? Because the above airlines seem mostly to be still rather pricey. Or, alternatively, what routes via bus or train could I book in advance (and get e-booking confirmation beforehand) across the border into China?
    And similarly, what is the cheapest method of leaving the country to Mongolia afterwards where I can get online confirmation of my booking? I hate to be so picky, but the visa requirements now seem to require proof of pre-booked entry and exit tickets for the country and I’m trying to work out the best way of acquiring such confirmation.
    Any help would be much appreciated.

  3. Levi

    April 27, 2014

    Post a Reply

    Cebu Pacific Air. Really cheap and has a ton of destinations, so long as you don’t mind a layover in Manila. I found round-trip tickets from Seoul, South Korea to Dubai, U.A.E for less than USD $500. I flew this airline from Seoul to Cebu, Philippines for less than USD $200, in 2013. The location closest to Australia that they service is Bali, Indonesia. It may seem like a hassle, but it saved me a lot of money.

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