Best low-cost airlines for cheap flights: easyJet narrowly misses out as Norwegian is crowned winner of Skytrax World Airline Awards

Norwegian has won for a second-year running

The budget airline Norwegian has been crowned the best low-cost airline in Europe for a second year running, with British carrier easyJet narrowly missing the top spot to win second place in the Skytrax World Airline Awards.

The awards are based on feedback from travellers in over 160 cities, who review over 200 airlines in the world’s largest airline passenger satisfaction survey.

Read more: Best airlines in the world

Respondents are asked to judge aspects of the airline ranging from their experience during check-in to boarding, seat comfort, cleanliness in the cabin, food, drink, entertainment and service. 

Easyjet has rapidly expanded since it was founded by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou in 1995 and now operates over 200 aircraft on 600 domestic and international routes. It is the second biggest low-cost airline in Europe, beaten only by Irish carrier Ryanair.

Just four years after its launch, easyJet became the subject of fly-on-the-wall documentary Airline in 1999, where the trials and tribulations of staff and passengers there saw the series’ popularity soar.

However, there was a notable absence of other British low-cost airlines, including Leeds based Jet2.com. Devon-based Flybe, which turned over a profit of £8.1 million last year, just made it onto the list, arriving at tenth place.

Read more: Airbus proposes moped-style seats

Norwegian has this month introduced a twice weekly service from London's Gatwick Airport to Los Angeles, as well as three flights per week to New York, with flights starting from £269 in September and £209 in December.

The airline said costs have been driven down by the fuel efficiency of its new Dreamliner 787 model, which has fewer seats to fill, thereby making long haul routes more economically viable.

Norwegian’s CEO Bjørn Kjos said: “This award means so much to us. I am very proud and humble to receive such an important recognition two years in a row. I want to thank all our passengers who have given Norwegian such great references. At the same time, I also want to thank all the employees at Norwegian, who each and every day of the year do their utmost for our passengers.”

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