Flights within Europe are cheap. It’s definitely cheaper than flying within the US. In fact, sometimes getting to the airport to catch your flight can be more expensive than your flight itself, in Europe.
Here is the thing; you don’t have to dig deep into the dark corners of the internet to find these cheap flights.
Flying In Europe
The Washington Post reported that as early as September 2017, travelers could get a flight for as low as $17 from London to Berlin. Passengers can use their cheap flight tickets within 14 days in October, and in some cases, some passengers can fly as early as the next morning.
Additionally, a flight from London to Barcelona typically costs $22 and to Rome $34.
This is just incredible.
While flights are cheap, there are some risks. For instance, RyanAir, one of Europe’s biggest low-cost carriers, cancelled thousands of flights because of mismanagement of its pilots holiday schedules.
However, people don’t seem to be bothered by this matter because the benefits outweigh the disadvantages for many travelers.
Low-Cost Flights In The US
This isn’t the case in the US. Passengers in the US can only dream of such services and prices. Even on TransAtlantic, Wow Air and Norwegian offer much cheaper flights than their American counterparts.
The sad thing is the idea for low-cost air travel started in the US and they were once the pioneers in the industry as early as the 1970s and 80s.
In fact, during these times, people could fly from Boston to New York for only $19 ($60 in today’s standards) and fliers were able to buy tickets as they board the plane – just like getting a bus ticket. Europe came on board the low-cost commercial flight industry much later.
Even though Europe came much later to the embrace of low-budget flights, they became more successful at sustaining its operations while providing cheap flights. The industry in Europe picked up momentum quickly, while the US’s degenerated and politics took its toll. European carriers refined the model established by the Americans. They invested in cheaper and more efficient planes and reworked the boarding process, which contributed to cutting cost.
But, let’s be honest. The problem was mainly political. Here are some of the reasons why the EU has a much cheaper flights and a much better system:
1. Better Legislation
Europe introduced a legal framework that would be more supportive to operating low-cost domestic flights – allowing different regional European carries to operate across the continent. But in the US, the legislation were unfriendly and unwelcoming to foreign low cost carriers.
2. Market Driven By Competition
The Europeans understood the value of good competition. By allowing operators from different countries around Europe to operate, prices got lower.
They got the facts straight; no country is safe from competition.
The Americans, on the other hand, get the idea of competition and free market, but they failed to apply it.
3. Europe Has A Geographical Advantage
There is a much higher population density in main European cities and smaller airports provided an advantage for low-cost carriers. Tickets at smaller airports became much cheaper and landing fees at these airports are less expensive.
“Airlines can also reportedly get paid by some smaller airports for drawing customers to their shops and cities, which gives the airlines incentives to fill vacant seats with tickets priced below the profitability margins.”
4. Europeans Didn’t Care Much For The Shortcomings Of Flying Cheap
Americans liked a good customer service. Hey, who doesn’t like a nice customer service? But better customer service meant higher prices and more expensive tickets. So, many European carriers – until not long ago – didn’t pay much attention to things like seat reservation (which meant passengers would literally run for boarding to get good seats).
“Most European travelers have probably made at least one awful experience on board a low-budget plane, but to many the benefits of cheap airfare still outweigh the disadvantages.”
5. There Is A Bigger Based For Customers In Europe
On both sides of the Atlantic, the number of passengers increased by 5% between 2014 and 2015. However, there are two times as many passengers in Europe than in the US.
The reason for that is Europe’s successful low-budget airlines attracting a larger number of people, including people who previously didn’t consider flying – stealing customers from buses and trains.
6. Big Airports Are Acknowledging Low-Budget Carriers
Low-budget airlines have expanded their operations and their routes. Big airports began to take in low-cost carriers alongside traditional airlines. This expansion impacted traditional airlines – now they had to face the competition because passengers are choosing to fly cheap.
This forced traditional airlines to start their own low-budget flights or drop their original flight prices.
7. Natural Selection Is Taking Over
Many airlines now are at each other’s throats and competition has never been more intense. Big names like AirBerlin and Monarch have gone bankrupt. While others like EasyJet is expected to lose a lot of money. Others have also been affected by fluctuating exchange rates.
What will happen in the future?
Will the prices of tickets go up again? Which countries will cave in first?
What was your experience with low-cost flights?
Share with us.
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