Rise in business flyers going low-cost

London Gatwick has revealed a rise in the economic business traveller – dubbed the ‘Suited Savers’ – who choose value for money and fast, efficient travel over anything else.

According to a survey conducted by Gatwick on the flying habits of businessmen and women across the UK, 57 per cent of business travellers said they would prefer booking low-cost long haul tickets wherever possible. The airport has teamed up with Traveller Insight and Business Traveller magazine in conducting the survey.

The new ‘Suited Savers’ research reinforces the findings of TripAdvisor’s 2014 study, which found that 72 per cent of business travellers they asked said they had chosen to fly on a low-cost airline.

Two thirds of business flyers (67 per cent) are already choosing low-cost on short haul flights, while 40 per cent have been opting for economy options for long haul where possible. At Gatwick, Norwegian Air has announced its plans to double services to New York and Los Angeles from May 2015 amid the rising popularity of low-cost routes.

Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer at London Gatwick, said: ‘Passengers are increasingly voting for the kind of choice and competition that only Gatwick can deliver. This research highlights the emergence of a new kind of business flyer – travellers who put value for money, speed and convenience at the heart of their travel plans. The remarkable growth of low cost carriers, and their moves into the long-haul market, reinforce this view.

‘One in five of Gatwick’s passengers is now travelling on business, and our future success in the business travel market will be built on our ability to offer a short journey time from the office to the plane, with new, modern facilities that work every step of the way. That is what we are delivering today.’

The survey also found that 25 percent of those surveyed care about faster security over any other aspect of flying. Gatwick has invested GBP45m in new security facilities since 2011, and has reduced the average waiting time for Gatwick passengers to just two minutes.

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.’