Budgeting Your Language Trip – Our In-depth Flight Guide (from the UK & Ireland)

Budgeting Your Language Trip - Our In-depth Flight Guide - imagen by civilisation2

Flying to Spain to do a language course does not have to cost a bomb. To ease the burden of accommodation and travel expenses, thank goodness budget airlines were invented!

Flying regular routes from UK and Ireland to most Spanish airports, they might not offer the most glamorous of travel styles, but will certainly leave some money in your pocket to spend during your exciting Spanish trip.

What we’ve done for you

Whilst Easy Jet and Ryanair are still the industry leaders, more and more cheap flights are available every day. Our comprehensive list of the cheapest flight operators and airports below, from UK and Ireland to Spain, should help you clench the best deals for your language learning adventure.

Work the system for cheaper deals

Now, one return flight from UK or Ireland to Spain can range from as little as about £65 to way over £600! But don’t worry, there are some simple rules of thumb to follow when trying to secure a cheap flight to Spain:

1.    If possible, plan ahead. Flights are cheaper if booked months in advance. The closer you get to the time of departure, the more they go up.

2.    Generally speaking, January, February, October and November are almost always good months to find cheap deals to almost any Spanish destination.

3.    Avoid the beginning and the end of UK and Irish school holidays as departure and return dates. Return flights to Spain go up brutally around the time when families set off for their week of sunshine… and when they inevitably return.

4.    If you are truly trying to save money, make sure that you avoid any peak tourist season in the area you are travelling to. Flights to beach destinations during the summer months, July and August especially, but also June and often the first half of September, are the most expensive ones.Budgeting Your Language Trip - Our In-depth Flight Guide - imagen by dailyconso
These include Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, Malaga (serving also Marbella), Gibraltar, Jerez (serving Cadiz) and sometime Seville, and the Balearic Islands and the Canaries.
And because many travel-savvy people are now booking to alternative airports and hiring a car to their final destination – for example flying to Granada and then driving the 2 hour journey to their hotel in Malaga – coastal peak time flights to other inland Spanish airports can cost a great deal too, particularly in August.

5.    Big events like major football matches, concerts and conferences may also increase traffic to bigger cities like Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. The more seats an airlines sells, the more the remaining ticket prices go up.
If you are booking for an off-peak season and a ticket price seem unusually excessive, it’s often worth being flexible and trying for a day previous or a day after – it may simply be that the date you are trying for, Real Madrid or Barcelona FC are playing a big match, and the following day the fans will have gone back home and the flight prices returned to normal!

6. If you can stand the heat, you can sometimes find cheaper flights to big cities during beach-destination peak times, i.e. in July and especially August.
This means destinations like Madrid or other northern Spain cities (but excluding Barcelona airport because it gives access to many close-by beach resorts).
This is because most northern Spanish people like to holiday in their own country and flock to Spain’s coastal areas and islands then! Bear in mind, however, that Madrid especially is stiflingly hot in July and August, so if a blazing sun in a big city isn’t your thing, you should try alternative times.

Be clever and compare

The best way to get a really quick price comparison, is to type in your destination and your departure airport into a multi-flight booking site. One of the lesser known, but extremely efficient sites with very low commissions is Opodo – it is a favourite with European students looking to travel within a tight budget.

As a bonus, Opodo will also search the low cost airlines for you, to ensure the best deal. As for other comparison sites, you could also try Expedia, Skyscanner or Lastminute.com.

Still no luck?

Of course not every destination is served by budget airlines and some only operate flights during peak seasons. If you cannot find a flight from one of the below airline websites we’ve supplied, you should always be able to book one through Iberia. Whilst national airlines may not be perceived as the cheapest, they do offer off-peak flights and cheaper early bookings for a considerable saving.

Additional tips

If you Budgeting Your Language Trip - Our In-depth Flight Guide - Image by planificatusviajes.comreally, really want to stretch your pennies, why not share a suitcase with a friend, or take only a small carry-on bag? (Sorry, ladies, only one pair of shoes will fit!) Most of the flight companies, including Easyjet and Ryanair, tend to pile on extra charges for check-in luggage.

And while you’re really scrimping, you could also make a saving on in-flight food. National airlines like Iberia or BA may supply you with a meal and often at least one complimentary drink, but a no-frills airline will definitely charge you and it will cost you more than a few pounds. So it is a jolly good idea to pack your own lunch and pick up a bottle of water at the airport newsagent, if you fear pangs of hunger will hit you along the way, but don’t want to pay through the nose.

So now without further ado, we present you with our in-depth flight guide, so that you can begin to plan your very own, exciting Unispain language trip, to get that Spanish language up to a top notch level.

¡Buen viaje!

Guide to budget airlines and spanish destinations

EasyJetImagen by efectomariposa.net

Spain is still best served by EasyJet and this airline covers almost every UK airport too.

Outbound flights from the UK go out of London (Gatwick, Luton or Stansted), Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol, Belfast, Newcastle, East Midlands, Manchester and Liverpool.

Airports in Spain include: Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga (serving also Marbella in the nearby area), Valencia, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Ibiza, Mallorca and Bilbao (serving Pamplona and San Sebastian).


Irish by name, Irish by nature, the emerald isle’s largest airline is cheap, and its staff are very helpful and cheerful. Ryanair has excellent Dublin-Spain connections, of course.

Outbound flights from the UK and Ireland) include London (Gatwick, Luton or Stansted), Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol, Bournemouth, Manchester, Liverpool, Newquay, Birmingham, Doncaster, Durham and Leeds.

Airports in Spain include: Alicante, Granada, Madrid, Malaga (serving also Marbella in the nearby area), Seville, Valencia, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Ibiza and Jerez (serving Cadiz).


If you are looking to cheer yourself up with sun and sand during your Spanish language course, Flybe goes to most coastal destinations in Spain, but only from smaller UK airports.

Outbound flights from the UK : Exeter, Southampton

Airports in Spain include:: Alicante, Malaga (serving also Marbella in the nearby area), Palma (Mallorca).


Similarly to Flybe, Thomsonfly reaches Spanish beach holiday destinations, but operates from more of the bigger UK and Spanish airports.

Outbound flights from the UK and Ireland: London Gatwick, East Midlands, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool,Imagen by galeriadibujos.net Glasgow, Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Doncaster, and Durham.

Airports in Spain include: Alicante, Malaga, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Palma (Mallorca) and Ibiza.


Monarch includes excellent connections to the Canary Islands.

Outbound flights from the UK: London (Luton and Gatwick), Birmingham, Manchester.

Airports in Spain include: Alicante, Gibraltar (serving Cadiz), Malaga, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Palma (Mallorca) and Ibiza.


Northern England and Scotland, as well as Northern Ireland are well covered by Jet2.

Outbound flights from the UK & Ireland: Edinburgh, Belfast, Blackpool, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle.

Airports in Spain include: Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Ibiza, and Palma (Mallorca).

Fly Thomas Cook

This familiar British high street travel agency name, Fly Thomas Cook, serves almost as big a variety of UK and Spanish airports as Ryanair and Easyjet

Outbound flights from the UK & Ireland: London (Stansted and Gatwick), Exeter,  Birmingham, Durham, East Midlands, Humberside, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Glasgow, Belfast, Bristol, and Cardiff.

Airports in Spain include: Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga (serving Marbella also), Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Palma (Mallorca) and Ibiza.

VuelingImagen by cosasdeviajes.com

Unusually, Vueling flies from Heathrow in London. For those living in London, this means handy tube access. Vueling also provides an extremely helpful graph system for booking flights: you can literally click on a destination and a departure city, then view a bar graph showing exactly which days offer the lowest possible fares.

Outbound flights from the UK: London (Heathrow)

Airports in Spain include: A Coruña (serving Santiago), Bilbao (serving Pamplona and San Sebastian), Seville.

British Airways

Trusty old BA! Don’t be put of by the thought that British Airways are terribly dear – they are not always that expensive anymore. As an added bonus, because they share flights with Iberia, BA can often offer destinations the budget lines might not reach. Again, Heathrow is also on offer.

Outbound flights from the UK: London (Heathrow and City)

Airports in Spain include: Barcelona, Gibraltar (serving Cadiz), Madrid, Malaga (also serving Marbella)

And finally… Iberia. Serving all Spanish airports if not directly, then through connections, Iberia will be the airline to try if other comapnies can’t get you there. Operates together with BA, so all main UK airports are covered.

Useful links:

Map of Spain’s Airports

Spain’s Aviation Authority, Aena

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