UK price comparison site Idealo.co.uk’s latest research has found that families from the UK will spend on average £29 more per seat with a budget airline compared to booking a flight with a more established network carrier. In the study, flight prices from ten different airlines over four popular routes were analyzed under reasonable travel conditions for a family of four (two adults, a child and an infant).
Once all the hidden surcharges for baggage, seat reservations, priority boarding and administrative services were included to the total price based on the study’s travel conditions, a proper price comparison for families was possible. The six non-budget carriers in the study offered prices that were on average £87 less per booking than the budget airlines.
Of the four routes, the budget airlines only resulted in the cheapest price for one: London - Alicante. From London to Berlin, British Airways and Lufthansa offered direct flights which were £51 cheaper per seat than the Ryanair and EasyJet. From London to Barcelona, British Airways offered a direct flight that was £47 less expensive per seat than EasyJet.
The prices from Ryanair and EasyJet were also the least transparent of the four low-cost carriers in the research. When comparing the cost per seat found on flight search engines with the ‘real cost’ per seat in our study, the ‘real cost’ was 92% more expensive for EasyJet and 166% more expensive for Ryanair.
When excluding all surcharges, the EasyJet flight from London to Barcelona was £60.97 less than British Airways. However, the value of checking in a 23kg bag for free with British Airways more than makes up the price difference. It would cost between £64.40 and £92.22 (excluding VAT) to send a 23kg package from the United Kingdom to Spain via Royal Mail.
An Idealo spokesperson said of the research findings: “The results should not vilify budget airlines, as they can provide an excellent value to certain types of travelers. However, as in the case of family travel, budget airlines are not always the best choice for short-haul routes.”
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