Spending under £100 for a return flight is a steal, I’m sure we can all agree! But at such a low cost, do you get what you pay for? Or do they pleasantly surprise you with what’s on offer? We are breaking down what’s on offer, what’s the best value for money and what airlines may fall short. Obviously, these are all opinions and we encourage you to go out and try these budget airlines for yourselves instead of just taking our word for it.
Budget airlines really helped to propel the aviation industry into a multi-billion pound/dollar industry, as well as making travel a lot more accessible to the general public, thereby allowing a lot more people to experience different cultures and making the tourism industry boom. So, in terms of the economy and accessibility, budget airlines have done a lot of good. But how do airlines get away with offering such cheap flights? It’s well known that airlines like Ryanair offer their infamous £17 flights.
Some low budget airlines only use specific aircraft in their fleet. This is beneficial and important in keeping costs for customers and the airline down. A primary reason for this is the ease of ordering parts in bulk, rather than buying parts for different aircraft. A secondary reason that an airline may choose to use a specific aircraft is because of that particular aircraft's low maintenance costs. For instance, Ryanair only uses Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Whilst all of this helps to bring down the cost for tickets for customers it is probably important to note that certain companies that do this have been criticised for their poor working conditions, heavy use of extra/hidden charges, poor customer service and a tendency to intentionally generate controversy in order to gain free publicity.
The four most popular budget airlines are Ryanair, EasyJet, Wizz Air and Jet2. They each have different rules and regulations that go into keeping costs low for standard tickets, whilst also giving room for the customer to increase the standard services offered for a more comfortable flight. One of the major differences between low-cost airlines and standard-priced airlines are the inflight services offered. Whilst airlines like Emirates and British Airways put the focus heavily on the inflight experience, like more comfortable seats, more leg room, complimentary food and drink, and free baggage allowance. Airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet are notorious for selling ‘bare-seats’, meaning tickets that don’t include an allowance to bring on cabin luggage, so the customer would have to pay extra to include baggage. This has its own advantages as it restricts many customers from bringing on luggage so that the weight of the plane is reduced and overall fuel efficiency is reduced, though most of the time customers end up paying the extra for the luggage and so the airline will have made extra money. As well as making things like food and drink chargeable, you can see how these low-cost airlines are able to keep their running costs relatively low so that tickets can be more affordable for customers.
Many argue that these airlines have been stripped down to their bare function, and the focus is on providing a service and not a flight experience. But it’s undeniable how convenient and accessible these flights are. So next time you want to go abroad, you might want to consider using a low cost airline.