Budget airlines in India for domestic flights are lifesavers. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to fly to Bombay than to take the bus!
There is one thing you need to know before you book your flight to India:
ONLY book it to your first port of entry.
If you are flying London to Goa, book your international flight London to Bombay OR London to Delhi (whatever you find cheaper) THEN go onto an Indian booking site and book your connecting leg. You will love the price you get.
Budget Airlines in India for Domestic Flights
I personally use Kiwi for almost all bookings. They search all budget airlines and if you miss a connection, they cover you with a FREE new flight.
The Domestic Airlines in India:
Unlike budget lines in Europe like Ryanair, these airlines in India actually have LESS fees and offer MORE luggage weight than many international flights I’ve taken.
I’ve been overweight in my checked luggage and wasn’t asked to pay a fine many times. Also, on a variety of Indian airlines, I have checked multiple bags and not paid a fee.
Best yet, although check in for ALL domestic flights in India close their counters 40 or 45 minutes before departure, I have showed up with 12 minutes before flight take off and been ushered onto the plane! They screened and checked my bag for me and told me to run.
I’m not going to do a break down of all the airlines and debate them, but really it’s a toss up. My favorite is IndiGo, and most people will rave about this airline. Go Air is a close second. They are newer and kind of hip, plus I haven’t had as many delays with them. Jet Airways (good food) and JetKonnect (discount Jet Airways) are good options as well as SpiceJet.
I’ve probably had the most delays with Air India and like their planes and service the least, but they have bumped me to business class (for free) when flying to Singapore… although on the shittiest plane ever!
Obviously Air Asia is going to be a new awesome option to fly domestically. I’ve taken it once already and it’s all brand spankin’ new. I love it! They were efficient, super cheap, and played great music when we landed.
You’ll find random positives and negatives with each and none is notoriously bad. Air India is operated by the government and let’s be real, the Indian government operated offices usually are slow and get nothing accomplished, so actually the airline exceeds expectations.
Checked Baggage Allowance per protocol (as of June 2015):
Air India 15 kg
IndiGO 15 kg
SpiceJet 20 kg
Jet Airways 15 kg
Go Air 20 kg
For more budget tips check out this 20 USD per day budget breakdown on India travel.
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Hey Rachel, I’m a nervous flier. Any insight about the safety of these airlines?
hmmm I mean I don’t ever hear of crashes and such. People joke about Air India but I think they’re all fine!
Great tips. We never took an internal flight during our trip, but we used Make My Trip to book our tickets to India from Thailand. They generally have the cheapest deals.
yes, make my trip is the bomb
Thanks for these tips! I’ve been looking at domestic airlines in India and was wondering if they had the same restrictions and fees as European budget carriers since the prices were so cheap. It’s so convenient to find all the information in this post instead of having to search each airline individually!
Thanks for the tips! I’ve already booked flights on IndiGo, but I’ll definitely keep MMT in mind for the next time around. Either way, tickets from Bangalore to Goa were priced decently, so I can’t complain! Now, to decide how to spend our time in Goa over New Year’s…without losing my mind (traveling around the holidays can be so fun, and also so frustrating haha.) I’ll be combing your site for info ;-)
haha yes, Goa and NYE is chaos!
I <3 Jet and IndiGo!
Rachel, you have been pretty much my sole reference for planning my trip to India, so, THANKS ;) Leaving in 2 dayssssss, iiiiihhhh!!!
awesome to hear!! enjoy your trip
hai Rachel :)
what a nice travel blog u have! i will go to india in september, and alone!! your blog is really helpful!
by the way, how is about the safety of these airline? like i mean the bagage safety? and do they have often delay the flights ?
never had india lose a bag & yes there are delays often
Can you typically book flights super last minute? Like 2-3 days in advance? I want to keep my travels as flexible as possible but will definitely need to fly from south India to Rajasthan.
Yes, you can. usually I don’t see a huge rise in price but maybe I have just been lucky. It’s more a seasonal thing so dec/jan will be more expensive. if you book way early they will be less, but once it’s already dec/jan the price pretty much stays high at the same rate anytime.
Thanks so much for this list…just planning a trip this month with many short stops in between so needed a good reference for cheap airlines.