Low-Cost Airlines Not Always Cost Effective

Most travellers would assume that flying with a low-cost airline is cheaper than an equivalent trip with a full-fare airline, but a new study raises doubts about that preconception.

Skyscanner, a UK-based flight search engine, has reported that low-cost airlines may charge travellers more than scheduled airlines, depending on the travellers’ additional requirements.

The company has reported that complex fare structures utilised by low-cost airlines, along with supplementary charges for check-in baggage, meals onboard, seat choice and other fees, add to the cost of the fare and narrows the difference between these and full fare airlines for travellers.

Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, offers the cheapest fare for a basic traveller flying with only hand luggage, with easyJet, another UK-based airline, coming a close second, and UK-based full-fare airline, British Airways, the most expensive in this instance.

However, for a single adult flying with one 20kg check-in bag, easyJet offers the cheapest fare, while the difference between Ryanair and British Airways is only GBP10, with Ryanair just being the cheaper of the two airlines.

Then, for travellers carrying sports equipment, scheduled airlines such as British Airways and Swiss offer the lowest fares with complimentary sports equipment carriage, while easyJet charges an additional £50, and Ryanair charges £100 extra.

Sam Baldwin, the travel editor for Skyscanner, said, ‘The airline offering the cheapest fare depends entirely on the individual’s needs. For the lone passenger travelling with just hand baggage, no-frills airlines generally still offer the cheapest fares. But for families, groups, or those carrying sports equipment, it is much less clear cut, and in many cases, scheduled airlines may offer the best deals.’