Budget airlines like JetBlue and Southwest in the United States, and Ryanair and Easy Jet in Europe, are often significantly cheaper to fly compared to legacy airlines like Delta and British Airways. How is this possible? Flying is expensive! The simple answer is that budget airlines simplify as many costs as possible.
Sometimes it’s obvious how the budget airlines cut costs. Having fewer personnel means fewer people to pay, using cheaper seats that don’t recline obviously saves money, and charging for in-flight meals means there’s less free stuff. Other time it’s just plain smart: by using only one type of aircraft for their fleet, everyone—pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, etc.—can work any flight. By using smaller airports, they can flex their muscles for better rates to land and take off. By not being attached to a hub airport, the budget airlines can keep their fleet more nimble and more importantly, always flying. The more flights they offer, the more money for them, and the cheaper the fares are for us.
Wendoverproductions does one of his always-captivating breakdowns on why budget airlines are so cheap in the video below.