Research shows that budget airlines cost families more than others

UK price comparison site Idealo.co.uk has recently completed research which suggests that this year families who book airline tickets for a holiday are going to be spending around £30 more per ticket if they book with a budget airline, rather than booking with a more established network.

The study involved 10 different companies operating in Europe and four of the most popular routes on the continent were examined. The study looked at the average family of two adults, and two children travelling.

The study took into account many factors including seat reservations, baggage, boarding and various administrative services. Then it compared the absolute final price of both type of airline and it was found that the traditional airlines offered a price that was around £90 less than the complete booking on a budget airline, including all the additional charges that might be required for baggage etc.

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.”