Cebu Pacific vs AirAsia: Which Budget Airline Reigns Supreme?

Jay Pagkatotohan

Jay Pagkatotohan

Last updated December 21, 2023

When you were a kid, you probably had the impression that traveling via plane is a privilege only the rich can afford. After all, tickets were insanely priced back then. 

But thanks to the proliferation of budget airlines, a lot of people can now explore the world. Tickets can still be a tad expensive at times, but you can’t deny that flights are now more inclusive these days.

In the Philippines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia are the go-to low-cost carriers for many flyers. The flights are significantly cheaper compared to those offered by full-service airlines. However, keep in mind that there are several trade-offs and minor inconveniences that you need to weather (we’re looking at you, insufficient legroom and unreliable customer service).

Cebu Pacific vs AirAsia: The Battle of Two Low-Cost Air Carriers

The comparison between the two aviation players can’t be helped, especially if you’ve experienced both carriers’ services. To give you a more objective perspective, this Air Asia vs Cebu Pacific review covers various aspects of both airlines’ services. This article will also benefit travelers who are used to one carrier but are looking to expand their alternatives.

✈️ Cebu Pacific vs AirAsia: Number of Destinations and Flight Routes

cebu pacific vs airasia - routes

Fondly called Ceb Pac, Cebu Pacific claims that they have the most extensive route network in the Philippines. This route includes 36 domestic destinations and 14 international destinations across Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. For their international route, Cebu Pacific covers Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and United Arab Emirates, among others.[1]

cebu pacific vs airasia - routes

AirAsia, on the other hand, operates domestic and international flights to more than 165 destinations across 25 countries. But note that AirAsia has already evolved from being an air carrier into an all-around travel and lifestyle platform. And this means a lot of things.

For one, AirAsia’s unified booking website now includes flights from other airlines. So when you book flights via the platform, flights from other airlines, like Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, ANA, Japan Airlines, Air Busan, and Jetstar, just to cite a few, will be listed as options.[2]

Winner: AirAsia

✈️ Cebu Pacific vs AirAsia: Safety Rating

cebu pacific vs airasia - safety

According to experts, flying is one of the safest ways of traveling.[2] Hopefully, that bit of information will help quell your anxieties. Nevertheless, it’s just reasonable to check the safety rating of Cebu Pacific vs. Air Asia.

For an impartial outlook, we can lift some insights and data from,[3] a leading airline safety and product rating review website.

Currently, Cebu Pacific has a safety rating of 6/7. On the other hand, AirAsia Philippines has a safety rating of 7/7. The ratings are based on three parameters:

  • Fatality-free record – If the air carrier has experienced a fatal crash in the last 10 years, three stars will be deducted from the rating.
  • Incident rating – If the airline has suffered numerous serious pilot-related incidents, one or no stars will be awarded.
  • Audits – If the airline has passed all audits by major trade organizations, it will receive one star.

Winner: AirAsia

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✈️ Cebu Pacific vs AirAsia: On-Time Performance 

cebu pacific vs airasia - on-time performance

According to the November 2023 report by Cirium, a leading aviation analytics company,  AirAsia is the most on-time airline in Asia Pacific. The operator lodged an on-time arrival rate of 86.68% of its more than 12,000 flights. Furthermore, the completion factor of the said airline is 99.99%. 

Sadly, Cebu Pacific isn’t on the list. Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines, a major competitor of the two low-cost carriers, lands the third spot.  

Winner: AirAsia 

✈️ Cebu Pacific vs AirAsia: Customer Rating

One of the ultimate barometers of airline comparisons is the sentiment of the customers. Based on the product ratings on, both airlines have earned the gripe of their flyers. 

Cebu Pacific has a rating of 2.6/10. One passenger complains his flight was canceled, rebooked, and canceled again, citing extreme weather conditions despite the fact that other planes were flying out of the same airport. Another Cebu Pacific review shares that the airline has terrible communication with passengers. 

AirAsia reviews, on the other hand, have culminated in a 3.5/10 rating. One flyer complains that his flight was delayed for more than seven hours. He even urges others to avoid the air carrier “like the plague.”  

While AirAsia fares slightly better than Cebu Pacific, both air carriers have poor ratings.  

Winner: None 

✈️ Cebu Pacific vs AirAsia: Baggage Policy

cebu pacific vs airasia - baggage

Extra luggage comes with a price, so it would be wise to compare the baggage policies of both carriers before booking your flights. Here’s what you need to know.

Hand-Carry Baggage Allowance Policy

Generally, both air carriers offer free baggage allowances with size and weight limits.

Cebu Pacific primarily allows one carry-on baggage per passenger. The said baggage must have a maximum weight of seven kilograms and dimensions up to 56 cm x 36 cm x 23 cm. 

Nevertheless, the airline allows a maximum of two pieces of baggage with a combined weight of seven kilograms or less. Just make sure that one of the bags can fit under the seat.

AirAsia has a similar policy: the total weight of your baggage should not exceed seven kilograms. Generally, you can carry one piece of cabin baggage, as long as it doesn’t exceed the dimensions of 56 cm x 36 cm x 23 cm. 

Should you carry two bags and one of them is a laptop bag, a handbag, or a small bag, the extra bag should not exceed the dimensions of 40 cm x 30 cm x 10 cm. Additionally, it should fit under the seat.

However, AirAsia also offers the Xtra Carry On, which allows you to bring two hand-carry pieces of baggage totaling 14 kg. 

Check-In Baggage Allowance Policy

The price of purchasing a checked baggage allowance depends on your destination. Typically, baggage allowance becomes more expensive when you’re traveling abroad.

With Cebu Pacific, baggage allowances are available in 20 kg and 32 kg. You can bring up to three pieces of baggage with 20 kg each. Baggage is also upgradable to 4 kg, 8 kg, and 12 kg. This offers passengers some flexibility. 

Meanwhile, AirAsia offers more options for baggage allowance: 10 kg (QZ domestic flights only), 15 kg (domestic flights only), 20 kg, 25 kg, 30 kg, 40 kg, 50 kg, and 60 kg. 

Winner: AirAsia

✈️ Cebu Pacific vs AirAsia: Seat Comfort

cebu pacific vs airasia - seat

Another compromise passengers of Cebu Pac and AirAsia have to deal with is the limited legroom in the cabin. While it isn't a big deal for many passengers, the bigger and taller ones may find the cabin space too cramped and uncomfortable. You can't even recline the seat without hitting the knees of the passenger behind you.

A workaround is to book a seat in the emergency exit row that has bigger legroom, but you'll have to pay a seat selection fee to get that seat.

Winner: None

✈️ Cebu Pacific vs AirAsia: Value-Added Services

cebu pacific vs airasia - value-added services

Airlines these days offer not only flights but also services that make flying more worthwhile or holidaymaking more comfortable. At this point in this Air Asia vs Cebu Pacific review, we’ll compare the air carriers’ auxiliary products.  

Cebu Pacific Value-Added Services

Cebu Pacific’s flight-related services include the following: 

  • CEB Seat Selector – Pre-select your desired seat for a fee.
  • CEB Meals –  Pre-order your onboard meals. 
  • CEB TravelSure – Get personal accident insurance worth up to ₱2.5 million (also covers COVID-19). Depending on your plan, this particular product may also cover your baggage, and flight refunds, among others.
  • Special Baggage Handling – Cebu Pacific allows special items for check-in. These include sports equipment, surfboards, musical instruments, religious items, firearms, ammunition, and other weapons. 
  • Cebu Pacific Merch – You can buy limited edition Cebu Pacific merch, like blankets and souvenirs, at the CEB Fun Shop.

AirAsia Value-Added Services

Meanwhile, AirAsia has taken its new reputation as a lifestyle platform very seriously. Here are the add-on services that substantiate that: 

  • Hotel booking – Using AirAsia’s website, you can book hotels with up to 50% discounts. 
  • SNAP Program –  Book a flight and a hotel in one go and at a much more affordable price.
  • Insurance –  AirAsia offers a range of plans through its Tune Protect brand. Plans start at ₱230.
  • AirAsia Ride – Pre-book a ride to and from the airport up to three days in advance. This is available in three countries: Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. 
  • AirAsia Xchange – This is a universal points exchange hub where you can convert your bank and other loyalty points to AirAsia points and vice versa. 
  • AirAsia Wi-Fi – AirAsia lets you connect to their Wi-Fi services to access in-flight entertainment, shop online, order in-flight meals, and more. 

Winner: AirAsia

✈️ Cebu Pacific vs AirAsia: Fare Price

Which is cheaper: AirAsia or Cebu Pacific? Both air carriers are big on promos and discounts.

Cebu Pacific regularly offers discounts on base fares. As of this writing, the airline has a fare for local travel for as low as ₱399. More importantly, Cebu Pacific offers Piso Fare, a promo that cemented the airline’s reputation in the low-cost flight industry.

AirAsia, on the other hand, currently offers fares as low as ₱12 for flights from Manila, Cebu, and Clark. Note that promos and discounts change from time to time. But rest assured that they’re always present. 

Generally, we find Cebu Pacific’s offers more affordable. If you’ve booked flights with Cebu Pacific and AirAsia, you may see that the latter’s prices can get quite expensive at times. Add to that the fact that AirAsia also lists the flights of pricier brands, such as Cathay Pacific. 

But then again, the cost of your trip will all depend on your destination and the fees imposed by the airline.

Winner: Cebu Pacific

Read more:

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✈️ Cebu Pacific vs AirAsia: Loyalty Programs

A loyalty program is a big deal if you’re a frequent flyer, as it gives you access to more perks and discounts. At this point, we’ll take a look at the existing reward system of Air Asia vs Cebu Pacific.

Cebu Pacific Go Rewards

cebu pacific vs airasia - go rewards

Cebu Pacific has already ditched its Get Go system and now offers points through Go Rewards. Go Rewards is a lifestyle rewards program where you can use your points at more than 2,000 physical stores and through a variety of online shops available in the Go Rewards app. You can earn points from the base fare and add-ons.

The number of points earned will depend on your membership type. For instance, Classic and non-Go Rewards cardholders can earn one Go Rewards point for every ₱80 spend. Classic and Go Rewards prepaid or debit cardholders can earn one Go Rewards point for every ₱40. Lastly, Black or Cebu Pacific Platinum or Gold Credit Cardholders can earn one Go Rewards point for every ₱20.

AirAsia Rewards 

cebu pacific vs airasia - airasia rewards

AirAsia, on the other hand, offers loyalty perks through AirAsia Rewards. It also has its own credit card in partnership with RCBC. 

The said card has a welcome bonus of up to 8,000 points. It allows you to earn up to 2x points on daily and AirAsia spend. It also instantly upgrades your AirAsia membership to Platinum status.

Winner: Cebu Pacific

Ceb Pac wins based on the merits of its program’s simplicity and straightforwardness. AirAsia Rewards’ online page is packed with various messages and promotions, and finding what you need is a tad confusing. The existence of AirAsia Big Loyalty also adds to the complexity of the rewards system.

Which is Better, AirAsia or Cebu Pacific?

Is AirAsia a good airline? Is Cebu Pacific the better operator? Once and for all, the table below settles the showdown: 

Criteria Cebu Pacific AirAsia
Number of destinations and flight routes   ✔️
Safety rating   ✔️
On-time performance   ✔️
Customer rating N/A
Baggage policy   ✔️
Seat comfort N/A
Value-added services   ✔️
Fare price ✔️  
Loyalty programs ✔️  
Total  2 points 5 points


AirAsia dominates this edition of Battle of the Brands! Nevertheless, Cebu Pacific wins the flight price and loyalty program areas. 

How to Choose the Right Airline 

When choosing your air carrier, you can always refer to the criteria above. Nevertheless, there are some tips that will make decision-making easier. Here are some of them: 

👉 Read Customer Reviews

Reviews are among the best ways to determine an air carrier’s quality of service. Customers usually share their sentiments on the airline’s social media page. Just take a look at the comments section, and you’ll get insights right away. 

On top of reviews, stories from families and friends may help you form a decision. 

👉 Take a Look at Data 

If you’re going to be geeky about it, by all means, do so. You can check an airline’s reliability by looking at its performance in the past. 

Companies such as OAG and Cirium provide data on the performances of various airlines. They work around important parameters, such as on-time flights, canceled flights, and more. 

The best thing about it? You can access these records for free. 

👉 Always Refer to Your Travel Plans 

The cheap flights of low-cost carriers are undeniably attractive. But don’t let them overshadow your travel plans. Otherwise, you may find yourself sacrificing some comforts (e.g., late-night flights, super early flights, long layovers, etc.). 

If you’re flying with sports equipment, it’s wise to go for an airline that can easily accommodate it. If you’re planning to save money, it’s practical to book a flight-and-hotel bundle. You get the drift. 

Ultimately, if you can spend money on add-ons, do so. This will make your trip more comfortable. 

Read more: 

👉 Consider the Airport’s Location

Does your preferred airline operate at your nearest airport? Does it operate close to your destination? You may want to check this, especially if you want to save time on transfers. 

👉 Check Your Credit Card's Perks

Your credit card may be the last thing on your mind when it comes to choosing an airline. But keep in mind that some credit cards have partnerships with air carriers, giving cardholders access to exclusive deals and discounts. 

Final Thoughts

This Air Asia vs Cebu Pacific comparison has been comprehensive, guiding you on choosing your next flight. But don’t just rely on this. We encourage you to check out other reviews to broaden your perspective. 

If you’ve booked flights with either of the two, or with another low-cost carrier for that matter, manage your expectations as much as possible. Chances are you’ll find yourself making some petty sacrifices. 

However, this is not to say that you should just hold your peace. Speak up if it’s evident that you’re experiencing substandard services. Just because the flight is affordable doesn’t mean that you deserve low-quality products and amenities.

Want to go beyond the Cebu Pacific vs AirAsia arena? You can try other low-cost carriers, such as Jetstar and Scoot.

💳 Find the Best Air Miles Credit Card for Your Flight Bookings

Booking a Cebu Pacific or an AirAsia flight is more convenient and rewarding if you use a credit card that earns airline miles, which you can then redeem for free flights or hotel stays. 

Compare your top options and apply via Moneymax:

Credit Card Air Miles and Travel Benefits
Metrobank World Mastercard®
  • 2.5 rewards points = 1 Mabuhay Mile
  • Exclusive airport discounts 
HSBC Red Mastercard
hsbc red
  • ₱25 or ₱30 spend = 1 air mile
  • Exclusive travel deals worldwide via HSBC’s home&Away Privilege Programme
Security Bank Platinum Mastercard
security bank platinum
  • 11,667 rewards points = 1,000 Mabuhay Miles
  • Access to airport lounges worldwide
Security Bank Gold Mastercard
  • 11,667 rewards points = 1,000 Mabuhay Miles
  • Access to airport lounges
BPI Signature Card
BPI Signature Card-1
  • 8,000 points = 1,000 PAL Mabuhay Miles or AirAsia rewards
  • Access to airport lounges
  • Up to ₱20 million travel insurance
BPI Platinum Rewards Card
BPI Plat Rewards
  • 8,000 points = 1,000 PAL Mabuhay Miles or airasia rewards
  • Access to more than 1,300 lounges worldwide
  • Up to ₱10 million travel insurance
PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles NOW Mastercard
pnb pal mabuhay miles now
  • ₱58 spend = 1 rewards point = 1 Mabuhay Mile  
  • 1,000 Mabuhay Miles welcome gift
  • 5% discount on select Philippine Airlines flights 
  • Pay bills in PHP even for transactions abroad
PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles Platinum Mastercard
pnb pal mabuhay miles platinum
  • ₱48 spend = 1 rewards point = 1 Mabuhay Mile
  • 2,000 Mabuhay Miles welcome gift
  • 5% discount on select Philippine Airlines flights 
  • Single or dual currency billing


Jay is a marketing communications professional who specializes in short-form and long-form content. He has written ads for TV, radio, print, and digital. He has also produced corporate blogs, magazine features, white papers, product listings, reviews, and press releases for clients here and abroad. When he’s not writing, Jay plays the piano or takes pictures for his visual diary. Follow Jay on LinkedIn.


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