After the chaos with Ryanair a few week ago and the failure of Monarch Airlines, travellers have more and more doubts. A report of compares different vectors and advices travellers to do more research when they compare flights prices. The initial perception of lower rates is not always confirmed at payment.

Is it still convenient and cheaper to travel with low cost companies? Or is the saving just an illusion? A comparison of different airline companies shows pros and cons. In this report four vectors were compared: two of them were low costs (Ryanair and EasyJet) while two of them were traditional airlines (British Airways and Alitalia). All four airlines fly over Europe and the chosen date of departure is the 3rd of December for 1 person. Bookings were made a month before. The chosen tickets were the cheapest ones. During this research some surprises emerged.

The research showed that low cost companies are still cheaper than traditional airlines. However, the gap is reduced if passengers add extra costs for services that are not included, and for transports.

London to Rome

For the route London- Rome on the 3rd of December, Ryanair is the cheapest option, but the flight takes people to Ciampino International Airport. Although it’s closer to city centre than Fiumicino Airport (2km closer), Ciampino is not very well connected. It depends on where you need to go in Rome, Ciampino can be more expensive than Fiumicino.

Also, an extra cost is represented by your seat choice, some traditional companies like British Airways don’t charge extra for this, while Ryanair charges 17 Euros to choose your extra legroom seat, 15 Euros to choose a priority seat or 3 Euros for a normal seat.

Our advice for consumers is then to look not only at the ticket price but also at the included services, transport costs and departure times. In our research the cheapest Ryanair flight departs at 08.45am. There are 4 flights options in a day with Ryanair to Rome, but the latest you leave, the more you pay. British Airlines for example lets you leave at 15.20 and takes you to Fiumicino almost the same price as Ryanair (70 Euros vs 81 Euros) without the extra costs.

Alitalia leaves at 07.25am and lands in Fiumicino (FCO) at 10.55 local time. The price is 68 Euros and the same extras are offered for free: choose of seat, checked in bag up to 20 kilos and breakfast.

Another thing to consider is that our research looks at tickets prices 30 days before departure. If you book 2-3 months earlier the gap between low-cost and traditional airlines is even lower. Also traditional airlines have lower prices if you book well in advance, while not charging for other services on top.

As for international flights, Norwegian Airlines is ready to launch the Rome-New York option. In this case the comparison with a traditional airline cost is not viable, Norwegian wins without any doubt. Passengers will save lots of money.


London to Athens

If a Londoner would organise a weekend in Athens 30 days in advance he would have several options.

EasyJet leaves from London Gatwick (LGW) at 14.40 and lands in Athens (ATH) at 20.15. The price for this ticket is 95 Euros and includes the hand baggage up to 8 Kilos. It’s a very good travel time to leave at 14.20, not early in the morning. British Airways (BA) leaves from Heathrow (LHR) at 07.77am and lands at 13.35 in ATH and costs 130 Euros. This flight allows a big bag of up to 20 Kilos, it includes breakfast and the option to choose a seat for free. Also Ryanair takes you to Athens at 09.05am and it costs 100 Euros.

The cheapest tariff is EasyJet at 95 Euros, but it doesn’t include breakfast, nor does it offer you a 20 Kilos bag for free. Not to mention that he doesn’t let you choose your seat for free neither.


London to Berlin

What is the situation when a British traveller would fly from London to Berlin for the same date?

Leaving at 13.30 with British Airways from Stansted to Tegel Airport (TLX). The taxi from TLX to Berlin City Centre the taxi is much less expensive than if landing at Schoenefeld Airport, which is far away from the city centre. The price is 122 Euros with all the BA services included.

Ryanair starts at 60 Euro (about half than BA) and it leaves at 18.10 and arrives at 21.00 in Schoenefeld, which is far away from the city centre. Also you need to add extra services on top (10 Euros per kilo for your Excess Bag, no lunch and lots of extras). This can push the price up to over 100 Euros, which is about the same as British Airways, without the stress of worrying about extras.

Easyjet costs 63 Euros, also lands in Schoenefeld and also leaves at 18.30 and lands at 21.20. Same extra costs apply as for Ryanair.

These 3 options clearly show that British Airways, while the most expensive, offers actually the same price as the low-costs options, just because all extras are included. The only difference becomes the destination airport: Schoenefeld (Ryanair and EasyJet) is far away, while Tegel (BA) is closer and cheaper to city centre.