Shockingly low fares for long-haul flights are steadily becoming the norm as low-cost carriers like Norwegian Air Shuttle and Scoot push the boundaries of travel time and ticket cost. Meanwhile, legacy airlines are rushing to catch up by investing in low-cost carriers or launching their own, like Joon by Air France or Level by Iberia.
But before you jump on this new breed of super-long, super low-cost flights, there are a few things you need to consider. For example, do you prefer a nonstop flight that may not have seat-back screens? (Low-cost carriers often expect you to use your own device for inflight entertainment.) And are you comfortable with paying fees for everything from your blanket to your carry-on? Or are you the kind of traveler that would rather pay a higher fare that includes all your drinks and meals, seat reservations, and baggage fees?
In the end, you often get what you pay for on low-cost carriers, so keep that in mind when your jaw drops at the sight of a $200 fare to a destination that's 8 time zones away.
Here's a list of what it'll cost you to fly some of the longest-duration low-cost carrier routes out there, along with a comparable journey on a legacy airline. Plus, we've included some tips for how to squeeze the most comfort out of your trip. (All fares are one-way; baggage fees, seat reservations, and meals are not included.)
Barcelona to Buenos Aires
Low-Cost Flight: 13 hours and 45 minutes nonstop on LEVEL (Iberia's low-cost brand)
What It Costs: $530–$1,277
What You'd Pay on a Legacy Airline: $610-$1,713 on Alitalia with one stop
Survival Tip: Though Level tends to use new aircraft, seats are configured rather tightly, so you might want to secure an aisle seat, or pay a bit extra for one of the 21 spacious seats in the Premium Economy cabin, which also includes free meals, snacks, drinks, an amenity kit, and a checked bag.
Singapore to Berlin
Low-Cost Flight: 13 hours nonstop on Scoot Air; service starts June 2018
What It Costs: $228–$311
What You'd Pay on a Legacy Airline: $554 on Malaysia Airlines with two stops; $642 on Qatar Airways with one stop
Survival Tip: If you want to make this lengthy trip as dreamlike as possible, pay about $14 extra for a seat in the ScootinSilence mini-cabin, a quiet zone located right behind business class where no kids under 12 are allowed. Added bonus: You get extra legroom and wider seats, too.
London to Singapore
Low-Cost Flight: 12 hours and 45 minutes nonstop on Norwegian Air Shuttle
What It Costs: $262–$493
What You'd Pay on a Legacy Airline: $577–$645 on Emirates with one stop
Survival Tip: Travelers laying over in London can sleep off some jet lag at LGW's Yotel sleeping cabins in the South Terminal. Take advantage of a "monsoon" shower, free WiFi, and 24–hour room service, including unlimited free hot beverages (coffee, tea, and hot chocolate).
Paris to Cape Town
Low-Cost Flight: 11 hours and 40 minutes nonstop on Joon (owned by Air France)
What It Costs: $358–$4,221
What You'd Pay on a Legacy Airline: $615–$,1452 on Turkish Airlines with one stop
Survival Tip: Air France has been having a tough time lately with frequent strikes that leave thousands of passengers stranded. If this happens to you, make sure you're informed of your rights as a passenger so you can ask for rightful compensation, free ticket changes, refunds, and meal or transport vouchers.
Honolulu to Melbourne
Low-Cost Flight: 10 hours and 55 minutes nonstop on JetStar Airways
What It Costs: $219–$839
What You'd Pay on a Legacy Airline: $807–$5,273 on Quantas with 1 stop
Survival Tip: You'll have to bring your own blanket to keep warm on this long flight, or buy one from the airline (only available on long–haul flights). When buying your ticket, add on the “comfort pack” option (about $7), which includes a blanket, pillow, eye mask, socks, and a few other basic amenities. If you forget, you can always go back to the airline's website and purchase it later, or just buy it onboard.
Montreal to Lima
Low-Cost Flight: 8 hours and 40 minutes nonstop on Air Canada Rouge
What It Costs: $340–$1,271
What You'd Pay on a Legacy Airline: $294–$612 on COPA Airlines with one stop
Survival Tip: If you're connecting to another destination in South America, make your layover count by purchasing a one-time entry to one of the three airport lounges, which all feature shower facilities. For some real rejuvenation, purchase a day pass to the spa (starting at $52) located in the Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport Hotel, where daytime rooms are also available between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Osaka to Honolulu
Low-Cost Flight: 8 hours and 10 minutes nonstop on Air Asia X
What It Costs: $95–$1,010
What You'd Pay on a Legacy Airline: $489–$1,254 on Delta nonstop
Survival Tip: Air Asia X does not allow passengers to bring in outside food or drink onto the plane, so don't forget to reserve your meals when buying your ticket. It'll be cheaper than paying for meals from the onboard menu.