Just finished reading an excellent article by Laura Whatley in The Times money section which helps to finally shatter the myth that the budget airlines in the UK are always the cheapest option. The catalyst for this article was Ryanair’s announcement this week that they would soon levy a 5 GBP ($7) charge per person, per flight to print your own boarding pass AT HOME. If you want a boarding pass at the airport you get fined 40 GBP !!! Yes, that’s right, to produce a piece of paper which THE AIRLINE REQUIRES you get charged for the privilege. You wonder what is next – you board the plane to find you have to then buy a seat to sit down ?
Well Whatley’s reporting drives a horse and carriage (if you forgive the mixed travel metaphors) through the bluster of the Dick Turpin of the air, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary.
Now in the interests of honesty, I fully confess to unstinting loyalty to both British Airways and Continental Airlines but I have always argued that budget airlines have their role – namely providing an affordable, no frills service to popular destinations. No more.
One of the examples cited was a family of four (typical in the UK) of 2 adults and 2 children flying to Malaga, Spain;
British Airways 1,171 GBP
EasyJet 1,098 GBP
Ryanair 1,265 GBP
Easyjet is cheapest but interestingly enough the British Airways option is only 73 GBP more and comes with free food on-board, newspapers and both soft and alcoholic drinks.
And this is not the whole story. Whatley explains that if you went with the Ryanair option and did not check in at home or prebook your luggage the cost would rise to 419 GBP more than British Airways.
It’s time British Airways and the other full service carriers started to emphasis the value for money they can represent.