Skybus and Ryanair
I see that one of you newest airlines, Skybus, is said to be modeling itself on a UK low cost carrier from this side of the pond, with tickets starting from $10. Whilst this may seem like a great idea, and in theory it is, there are a number of warning signs that I think you over there should be aware of.
Ryanair, an Irish based LCC, offers one way flight tickets from 99 pence (50 cents) between the UK and Europe, so in theory I can travel from here to Rome for under Â£1. So why am I not flying my partner to the romantic capitals of Europe every night? Here are just a few of the reasons.
1. These prices do not include the airport taxes, which can increase the cost of a one-way ticket by as much as Â£25 ($50).
2. It is strange how infrequently a return flight at the same price can be achieved at the same price as the outward bound cost. It is true that often it is not a great deal more expensive, but somehow it does not seem to add up to a cheap trip.
For example, last year I travelled from the East Midlands airport in the UK to Valencia in Spain. The outward bound cost was 99p and the return journey Â£1.49, a total of Â£2.48 ($5). Good value one would think. However, when all the add on costs, including airport taxes were included, the total price was Â£80 ($160). Whilst this is still a fair price, it is a significant difference to the quoted prices and it does make one a little skeptical about the “budget” airlines promotional “truths.” Furthermore, a few weeks earlier I had made the same trip using the national airline British Airways and paid a total of only Â£90. To be fair to Ryanair I thus saved money. However, when you take the rest of the “hidden extras” into account, this soon becomes just a token saving.
Ryanair, and from the information I have found Skybus, are “no frills” airlines. In this case “no frills” mean exactly what it says. Anything you want on a Ryanair flight will cost you money. This includes food, drink, headphones and any other service, apart from the use of toilets, which at this time are still free. Take the following five examples: -
1. A sandwich, available in retail shops in the UK for Â£1.50 will cost Â£3.50 on Ryanair (and you cannot eat your own food on the flight).
2. A can of coke, available in shops at 33p will cost Â£1.50 on Ryanair flights.
3. Headphones, for use to relax and enjoy the music, are Â£2.00.
4. Every piece of baggage that goes in the hold will cost Â£2.50.
5. A candy bar, available elsewhere at around 70p, can be bought on flight at Â£1.50.
Added to this of course is the situation where one has to fight for seats as the boarding passes do not automatically provide the passenger with a seat number, thus it is first come, first served, which is great if you have a family to get on board.
Another way that these low cost carriers make money is by “cheating” the passengers, although according to the report, they deny this. However, going back to the trip that I made at that time, the limit for baggage was 20 kilos. Being concerned about this, I decided to weigh my baggage at a local chemist and one at the airport before I went to the check in desk for it to be weighed. Locally it weighed 15.1 kilos, at the chemist in the airport it weighed 15.4 kilos. Thus I approached the Ryanair desk with confidence. However, their scales weighed my baggage at 17.6 kilos. Whilst I was still well below the required limit, not being the kind of person to take such deceit lightly, I asked to see the manager, which of course upset their fast processing system. Whilst first endeavouring to call me a liar and saying that it didn’t matter anyway as I was below the limit, the two independent measures which I was waving around for all fellow passengers to see, soon sent him scuttling to a phone. The two complimentary flight tickets came in handy later in the year.
The point of this story? One gets nothing for nothing in this world, so look at the small print and add on costs.