How cheap is “cheap flying”?

You have to take into account many considerations when booking a flight. And sometimes the cheap airfare is not that cheap any more. Photo by pixelroiber @Flickr

Recently I stumbled on an article in Latvian news portal DELFI on this subject where it was explained that a German auto club ADAC have made a study comparing 2 types of travellers flying with various companies in Europe. The result of the study was not as you would expect it…

The study tested the cost of the round-trip flight within Europe offered by 13 airlines with a condition that you are booking a flight online. The study tested two types of travellers – the first was a traveller with 15 kg baggage, who checked-in at the airport, with no specific seat reservations, payment was made via credit card. The second type – 24 kg baggage, check-in online, specific seat reservation, payment made by credit card.

What was the result? Both types of travellers would pay most if flying with Ryanair. How is that possible you think? Well, let’s try to make an experiment with me. Let’s say I would like to travel to Latvia for a week in January 2011. So, I would be booking for 1 person, with 20kg luggage (because, honestly, that is how much you would need to be in LV during winter). I will be comparing Ryanair and Airbaltic – only company that has direct flights to Riga (only one besides Ryanair that is).

My comparison

Dates that I chose are from 14/01/2011 – 23/01/2011. Result? I would fly with Airbaltic for 124.42 EUR and 116.48 EUR with Ryanair. But let’s break it down a bit.

  • Airbaltic flies from Brussels central airport, Ryanair from Charleroi – that adds 6 EUR bus ticket for Airbaltic (return ticket) and 22 EUR for Ryanair.
  • Calculating the time that you loose to get to the airport: Brussels Airport: 20 to 30 minutes, Brussels Charleroi: 1h30min at least.
  • Airbaltic has 2 flights per day and I can fly after work, for Ryanair – I have to take a day off as the flight is @10:25.
  • There is no possibility to reserve your seat with Ryanair but if you want to have a priority boarding, it is going to cost you additional 8 EUR. In Airbaltic you can check-in online with no additional fee.

In total, this is how it looks

Airbaltic Ryanair
Flight EUR 124.42 EUR 116.48
Bus EUR 6 EUR 22
Time to get to the airport 20 to 30 minutes 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours
Flight schedule can choose before work or after work have to take the day off
Grand TOTAL Moneywise: EUR  130.42 

Time wise: total winner over Ryanair

Moneywise:  EUR 138.48

So, here it is – that is how cheap get cheap airfare companies….

Of course, I also have to be a bit fair – Airbaltic had a special price for the time being, but they keep having these promotional prices quite often. So, if it is not an emergency and you plan your trip couple of month in advance, the situation is more positive on Airbaltic wings 🙂

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