Blog & Save

The best bargain brains on the web come together to share money saving tips to finely tune your personal finance in a coupon blog you can't miss. Join us on our quest of living well – while spending less!

Airfare Deals: Are Niche Airlines the Solution to High Ticket Prices?

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by MBones)
at 12:18PM Monday May 3, 2010
under Shop Smarter

As each news day brings the story of another monolithic air carrier biting the proverbial dust, the future of air travel seems headed in the direction of smaller, niche carriers. With so many cropping up, which airline is the best fit for your travel needs?

It doesn't take an aviation expert to see that the old business model for air travel is becoming extinct. With huge airlines charging big rates and then nickel and diming passengers, many annoyed travelers are looking for friendlier skies.

Enter the niche airline market. Dozens of tiny airlines catering to smaller market shares are cropping up. Rather than spreading themselves thin, these niche airlines do less--but do it better.

So which niche airline fits your travel personality?
RETIREES

Allegiant Airlines has been the most profitable airline you've never heard of for the last twenty-nine quarters. Catering to leisure destinations only, it affords the young at heart the chance to unwind without spending all their retirement savings. JetBlue is also great for the grandparent set. With destinations between Florida hubs Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa and several destinations up north, you can visit family for less.

PROFESSIONALS

AirTran airlines has a roomy business class and low fares. This year, it ranked #2 in the best airlines in the country based on the Airline Quality Rating report from Purdue University. Their great rewards travel program also helps you log flyer miles Ryan Bingham-style.

COLLEGE STUDENTS

Several niche airlines have crazy low rates. Cutting costs doesn't mean cutting corners; Southwest has some of the best stats for on time arrival so you'll be sure to make your finals, plus there are no bag fees, so feel free to bring your dirty laundry home to mom.  Spirit keeps service bare bones so all you pay for is getting from A to B. With the $9 fare club, you can fly home on a ramen noodle budget.

SINGLES

Though not a LLC, Virgin America has limited destinations and sexy mood lighting. With delicious in flight meal offerings, in flight WiFi, and competitive rates to major metropolises, it's the go-to for young jet setters. An in flight chat system gives "cruising altitude" a whole new meaning.

BEACH BUMS

Check out Gulfstream Air for great flights to Bimini, Florida, and other great beach destinations. Cape Air flies to Key West, Martha's Vineyard, and other great getaway spots.

Flown with a niche airline? Tell me about it in the comments below!


Annie Mebane is a screenwriter and improviser living in Los Angeles. A veteran Savings.com DealPro and beauty product aficionado, you can catch her blogging about beauty on Wednesdays.