The Best and Worst Airlines for Cheap Flights

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

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 compares the cheapest available round-trip flights for one person from Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (JFK or LaGuardia).

Expensive Airline: Delta Air Lines

Cost of Round-Trip Flight: $425

Plan to spend $425 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 will cost you the difference in fare and a service fee of $200 for domestic Delta-marketed flights. Do note that some tickets — including Basic Economy E fares — cannot be changed.

Expensive Airline: Spirit Airlines

Cost of Round-Trip Flight: $443

Though it’s generally regarded as a budget carrier, booking travel with Spirit Airlines won’t always save you money. Flying to and from LaGuardia Airport costs $221 and $222, respectively, which comes to a total of $443 round-trip. One small laptop bag or purse flies free, but just about everything else will cost you. Standard fees for bringing a carry-on bag range from $35 during booking to $65 at the gate.

Less Expensive Airline: United Airlines

Cost of Round-Trip Flight: $406

United Airlines is one of the best carriers to find cheap flights. You can fly in and out of LaGuardia for $203 each way on a Basic Economy fare — the airlines’ lowest-price ticket option — for $406. Basic Economy fares come with several restrictions, including no seat selection or upgrade, no flight changes or refunds and no full-size carry-on bags. You are allowed one small personal item.

Of course, United Airlines has experienced a handful of costly public relation scandals in recent months. In April, Kentucky physician David Dao was injured after being forcibly removed from an overbooked United flight. That same month, a giant three-foot rabbit named Simon died in the airline’s care. If these types of news stories bother you, you might want to book your trip with another airline.

Cheapest Airline: Frontier Airlines

Cost of Round-Trip Flight: $378

In July 2017, budget carrier Frontier Airlines announced plans to double in size by summer 2018. This is great news if you’re cash-strapped because it’s the cheapest airline, with $378 round-trip flights from LAX to LaGuardia, $189 each way. You’re allowed to bring one personal item for free, but other Frontier baggage fees vary by travel dates and time of purchase.

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