Low-cost airlines breaking the budget: report

Guest Contributor

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More than a third of UK holidaymakers still think they’re being taken for a ride when it comes to budget airline pricing, according to new research from Gocompare.com Travel Insurance.

In a survey of more than 1800 UK adults who’ve holidayed abroad, 38% felt that budget flight pricing is misleading with low cost giants Ryanair and easyJet being flagged as the worst for advertising low fares, which are not so low on closer inspection. 29% of respondents said that they’d never been able to get a flight as cheaply as the advertised price.

28% of consumers have found that the charges added to the cost of the flight often add up to more than the basic ticket price and 43% don’t think budget flights are that cheap when you add on the charges for hold luggage and extras.

Despite Ryanair promising greater pricing transparency, 37% of consumers still felt the airline had misleading prices while 27% thought the same about easyJet. In third place was Flybe with 9%.

Researchers at Gocompare.com put the airlines’ pricing policies to the test and found that if all you want is a no frills flight, generally speaking, what you see is what you get. However, if you want a few extras like reserved seating and hold luggage, there’s not a lot between the budget and a premium airlines’ pricing.

Gocompare.com looked at flights from London airports to Bordeaux departing on the 2nd of September and returning on the 9th September. In each case researchers chose the cheapest flights available regardless of the flight times. The prices include taxes and airport charges. The two budget options allowed for hand luggage only to a maximum size of 56cmx45cmx25cm and maximum weight of 10kg. Ryanair, easyJet and BA also allow an extra small bag such as laptop bag, briefcase or handbag to be stowed under the seat. With the extras, researchers selected the cheapest reserved seats and minimum hold luggage option, plus the cheapest payment method, which in all cases was by debit card.

The cost of not-so budget flights

Airline Headline outbound flight price Inbound flight price Total return flights price Reserved seating

(per seat)

Hold luggage Total with extras
Ryanair £17.99 £23.99 £41.98 £5.99 e/w £25.00 e/w (max 15kg) £103.96
easyJet £29.49 £20.33 £49.82 £3.49 e/w £28.00 rtn (max 20kg) £85.80


British Airways £106.76

(Standard Economy)

£106.76 Included Included up to 23kg £106.76


*Prices checked on the 2nd July 2015 for one adult passenger

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