While Madrid is a fantastic city to live in with more than plenty to see and do, its still nice to jet off now and then…for next to nothing. I tell you, as an American, it gets addicting…this whole easy Europe travel thing. I come from a gigantic country, a gigantic state even, with limited train options and definitely no airlines offering no-frills flights for cheap. So I find that it is harder to actually stay in Madrid sometimes than it is to leave it.
First things first…I am very happy to announce that all flights for Madrid – cheap and otherwise – come in and out of Barajas Airport. This is a huge relief after flying to places like Brussels with cheap airlines and finding myself still a 1hr+ out of the city. So Barajas is it. You can get there by the very economical metro/bus or roughly a €30 taxi ride should your flight depart before the metros open at 6am.
So how can an airline offer rates as low as €1 (before taxes)? Well when I say no frills…I mean it. The planes, they’re fine, clean, modern…it’s just outside of a seat, you get nothing else. If you opt to check your luggage it will cost you – approx. €30. If you’re thirsty it will cost you – approx €2.50 for a tini tiny can of coke. If you’re hungry…well you get the picture. You are able to bring on one piece of carry-on luggage (and I mean ONE – this includes cameras, purses…everything) and the luggage can not exceed 10kg (roughty 22 lbs). But don’t fret, this is Europe and very seldom does a flight take longer than 2 hours. You can do it!
Here is a listing of airlines that depart from Madrid on the cheap.
Skyscanner – Great way to avoid going to each individual site. Most scanning sights like Sidestep and Expedia don’t typically cover the cheap airlines, but this one does.
Vueling – Spanish airline. Its a play on Spanglish and as a marketer…I struggle with their campaigns. But I digress, I hear its pretty decent airline (favored over Iberia) but haven’t yet flown with them.
Easy Jet – I try to take Easy Jet as much as possible. I feel they run more efficiently and are cleaner. They have a good selection of destinations from Madrid.
Ryan Air – I take Ryan Air a lot as well. Not my favorite but sometimes they have the best rates. When you get to the airport you have to go to the Ryan Air desk (NOT the luggage check in desk. This is closer to the front of security) and have your passport/EU ID checked and your printed boarding pass stamped before going through security.
Wizz Air - This is an Eastern European airline that I take to go to Prague (about €50 round trip). I’ve had no trouble with them but note that they don’t fly every day. Great for major Easterm Europe cities.
German Wings – They have a good selection of flights from Madrid. Obviously it would be best to use them on trips to Germany.
SmartWings – An airline just for Prague from Madrid but they claim to be opening up more routes soon.
Enjoy the friendly skies!