Battle of the low-cost airlines: is Ryanair the cheapest?
We all know that Ryanair is the cheapest, right? Well, not quite. Ryanair is famous for their hidden fees, and our recent research shows that they make a big impact on the final cost. In fact, when all costs are counted, there are three other airlines that come out cheaper: Pegasus Airlines, Wizz Air and Blue Air.
Who is the cheapest of them all?
Even though Ryanair is considered to be the cheapest airline, this is true only when comparing the basic fare without fees. When the total fare is counted, including transaction fee and checked baggage fee for 20 kg bag, the cheapest carrier is Pegasus Airlines with a total average price of €63.19, followed by Wizz Air (€75.74) and Blue Air (€82.45). Ryanair comes in at 4th place with €83.45.
On the other end of the list there are airlines with relatively high prices – e.g. the average flight with fees operated by Fly Thomas Cook costs €206.76, making it three times more expensive than Pegasus and more than twice the price of Ryanair.
Be careful where you click…
Low-cost airlines make a lot of money on the various fees, and their creativity seems to be endless. For example, when booking your flights with Ryanair, be very careful in every step of the booking procedure. Ryanair hides some of the fees very smartly (e.g. travel insurance). When adding checked baggage to your booking, think twice before you choose whether you want to carry 15 kg or 20 kg. If you buy the smaller one and bring 5 excess kilos to the airport it will cost you €100! And of course, do not forget to print out and bring your boarding pass, otherwise you will have to pay €70 boarding card re-issue fee.
Wizz Air goes even further with its fee to carry on larger hand baggage. And that is not all – priority boarding fee, reserved seating fee, sms confirmation fee, more legroom fee or “free of charge changes” fee.
Travelling low-cost can be a minefield with all the companies trying to “offer” you extras. These optional features can cost you a fortune and their real value is questionable. Priority boarding for example will not make your journey shorter. You will spend the same time waiting for your flight, just more of it in the aircraft itself instead at the gate. And finally, try to fit everything into hand baggage and pay with a debit card, as payment with credit cards often leads to extra transaction fees.
Comparing the total price including fees
List of low-cost airlines according to the average total price (20 kg baggage and transaction fees included).
|Airline||Total price (in EUR)|
|Norwegian Air Shuttle||142.70|
|Fly Thomas Cook||206.76|
Apart from the average ticket price, the total price includes checked baggage fee for 20 kg bag and transaction (payment processing) fees. Checked baggage fee may vary according to the destination. The stated price is always for one-way international short-haul flights in the cheapest tariff operated in October/November 2013. Transaction fees are based on payments with a VISA debit card.
Comparing the „basic“ price without fees
List of low-cost airlines according to the average ticket price.
|Airline||Average ticket price (in EUR)|
|Norwegian Air Shuttle||133.70|
|Fly Thomas Cook||184.76|
Average ticket price is based on one-way flights operated by stated airlines. The average prices were calculated from more than 300,000 prices of flights operated in the future (October 2013 and later) searched by WhichAirline.com users.
Petra Vaškových, Oct 21, 2013
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