Low Cost Carrier Rating Criteria

These carriers typically do not have passenger lounges, business or first class cabins, or are part of alliances. These carriers offer a lower level of service than full service carriers and generally work on a point to point route network. The level of passenger comforts such as meals, blankets, pillows and IFE is low, variable or non-existent and if available usually needs to be purchased. Low cost carriers typically operate one or two aircraft types and rarely transfer baggage from one flight to another.

Low cost and regional airlines cannot be compared with full service airlines as they offer an entirely different product on typically far shorter routes where the frills do not matter as much. Whilst the full service airlines are graded using a 7 star rating system, regional and low cost airlines can not have a seven-star budget product because seven stars denotes excellence. Therefore we have adopted separate easy to follow five-star rating systems for regional and low cost carriers.

The 5 star assessment criteria for low cost airlines is as follows:

Personal In Flight Entertainment

1 star for personal seat back screens (or personal devices) either paid for or complimentary. No star for no in flight entertainment.

1/2 star for shared cabin screens on most flights of two hours duration or more or mixed fleet (some aircraft with personal in flight entertainment and some without).

NOTE: Wi-Fi capability is considered a form of in flight entertainment and follows a similar rating therefore if the airlines is Wi-Fi-equipped across the whole fleet = 1 star; if only half the fleet is equipped = 1/2 star.

Cabin space and comfort

1 star for seat pitch of 30 inch and above. No star for seat pitch less than 30 inch.

1/2 star for mixed across fleet (some aircraft above 30 inch, some below 30 inch).


1 star if non-alcoholic beverages provided complimentary. No star if not available on fights less than 90 minutes.

1/2 star if only available for purchase.


1 star for fresh foods such as sandwiches and hot meals on flights over 2 hours available for purchase. No star if no food available on flights under 90 minutes.

1/2 star if snack foods only (chips, chocolates, nuts, biscuits) on flights over 2 hours.

Seat recline

1 star if significant recline (2 inches or more). No star if no recline.

1/2 star if mixed across fleet (some aircraft have reclining seats, some do not).

NOTE: Editors discretion will be used in situations where the information is not available from the airline.

No rating is made on the inclusion of baggage as different tickets allow for baggage and it varies too significantly between airlines to make a reasonable comparison and judgement.