This article belongs to Travelwise column.

This article belongs to Travelling the world theme.

Having looked at what a 20-year old German person might have to look at before he or she hits the road into the wilds of Europe, we might, this time, look at what is happening within the airline industry and what is viable in terms of value for money, which airlines are reliable and indeed which airlines will be here today and gone tomorrow.

No doubt you would have seen all the advertisements. "Come fly with us and we will supply you with a free seat on the wings. Your flight will take you to Hong Kong and your luggage will end up in Beijing".

"But wait, there is more. We will teach you how to fold your legs up behind your ears because there is no room for them under the seat in front of you".

Ah yes, but there is one thing that airlines can't offer and that is a seat in the back of a Hercules going sideways. But at least your sideways-going seat comes complete with earplugs and no airline have yet managed to create more noise in the cabin than what is created in a C130.

But - you do get to sit with your luggage in the back of a Herc.

All jokes aside though, the airline industry is, once again, in big trouble.
There are talks of airline mergers, airlines that offer the world one day only to fold the next and then there are airlines that think more of their shareholders rather than the safety and comfort of the passengers.

There numerous ways that one is able to find out which airlines are worth travelling with and which are those better avoided.

First of all, cheapest is not always best as, while the base fares might be cheap, the fare could well be loaded up with all sorts of taxes and charges making the overall total expense not very cheap at all. Find out all the inclusions before booking.

Find out what the reputation of any given airline currently is. It is not much good when an airline flies third-or fifth-hand aeroplanes that may well be thirty years old.

It is important to find out what types of aircraft an airline may use before booking. The trick that is used is to state the type of aircraft that is flown. It may be a 737. Ah yes, is this an old 200 series or a new 800 series 737?

One should look at the stability of the airline before booking a seat as it not much good flying out one day and then having to walk home because the airline has gone bust.

For short flights it is not very important to be served food. Most airlines will have drinks available during those sorts of flights. Food, and decent food, is important though on medium and long-range flights as is good service and a decent amount of room to move.

For the shorter flight, discount airlines, and caution always applies here, will suffice provided you have checked them out. For longer and long-range flights discount airlines are not the way to travel although some regular, mainstream airlines often do offer packages to fill seats.

I am certainly not afraid to name names as to whom not to fly with but some of the African airlines, some Asian airlines (Garuda) would come to mind. I would even have doubts about Qantas and its off-shoot Jetstar this given its most recent reputation of mishap after mishap. Those I would not have any hesitation flying with would be Emirates, Lufthansa, KLM-Air France, BMI and airlines such as Air New Zealand.

So there you have it. It is buyer beware, very much beware.

Now, can I interest you in a cheap seat on Scooter Airlines?
Lots of fresh air, not much luggage and I can guarantee that I can turn your face a slight shade of white in very little time.
I can't guarantee that you will get to your destination on time and in one piece though.

Ah well, can't win them all.