Uncovering The Reason Behind Europe’s Insanely Affordable Flights!
The golden age of European travel is upon us. Flying across the continent for less than £20 or €30 is now entirely possible – thanks to a vibrant array of airline services and budget-friendly routes. But how did such affordable flights become a reality? And why has Europe become so accessible? As it turns out, there is a complex history explaining the emergence of ultra-low-cost air service – and we’re here to unpack it.
To begin with, the rise of budget airlines revolutionized transportation in Europe. Low-cost operators like Ryanair and EasyJet focused on short flights and using secondary airports, offering drastically cheaper fares than their full-service counterparts. By unbundling extras such as checked luggage and in-flight meals, they substantially cut the cost of tickets – making it easier and much cheaper for passengers to reach their destinations.
But the low-cost revolution was just the tip of the iceberg. In the past decade, countless EU regulations have made flights within the continent much more accessible. Europe’s Open Skies Agreement allowed for unrestricted flight operations between EU countries, while the EU261 law enabled passengers to claim flight compensation in case of any delays or cancellations. Such policies helped make air travel safer, more accessible, and more affordable.
The growth of online ticketing services has also helped spread awareness about low-cost air routes. Travel websites such as Skyscanner allow passengers to compare ticket fares and book flights. Plus, discount sites such as VoucherDigg offer customers further discounts, helping them save even more money on their trips. In other words, the proliferation of digital tools has revolutionized the way people perceive and plan their travel journeys.
Meanwhile, the travel industry’s recovery from the recession of 2008 has made it more attractive for budget airlines to take off. Airlines have been able to reduce their prices due to the falling cost of fuel and the introduction of newer aircraft. In addition, air companies have to pay less in taxes because of favorable tax policy in certain countries. Consequently, many customers have been able to make use of the new options and fly across Europe at incredibly low prices.
Finally, cheap flights have also become a reality because of the availability of secondary airports. Using airports that are located away from large cities helps airlines reduce their costs – as they don’t have to pay exorbitant fees at the main airline hubs. By flying through secondary airports, passengers can often find drastically lower fares – allowing them to make trips that would have previously seemed impossible.
The Increasing Popularity of Slashed Fares
By slashing fares, budget airlines have been able to make air travel accessible to masses of people who did not have access before. In Europe, single airports serve multiple countries and regions – which makes is much easier for passengers to move to and from different nations in a short time. The availability of budget airlines has especially encouraged more travelers from economically disadvantaged countries to travel overseas – something that many couldn’t have dreamed of in the past.
Furthermore, flying to and from EU countries within the continent has become more straightforward due to the existence of affordable airlines. This has especially encouraged younger generations to explore the world beyond their borders, since youth travel has become much cheaper, substance, and much more accessible than ever before. Its no wonder that half of all budget airline passengers comprise of people between 15 and 35 years of age.
Additionally, airlines have done away with the standard flight routes, aiming to provide more possibilities for exploration and discovery. Want to explore Vienna on a budget? Websites like Ryanair can help you get there in next to no time. Planning a trip to explore Serbia’s culture?
Low-cost carriers can help you get there. In other words, air travelers are now much more empowered than ever before – and they have budget airlines to thank for it.
Nevertheless, budget airlines don’t just benefit travelers. They are also a great source of income for the local communities at the served airports. When tourists arrive, it brings in more money, which is then spent on local services such as bus lines, hotels, restaurants, and more. Increased tourism and the availability of cheaper flights has made secondary airports – like London Luton or Paris’ Beauvais Airport – much more lucrative than they were in the past.
The Downsides of Budget Airlines
Unfortunately, flying with budget carriers also has some negative implications. For starters, rooms tend to be cramped and uncomfortable. Overhead bins are full – given that checked bags usually cost extra – meaning passengers are often asked to pay for extra legroom. Additionally, long check-in lines are typical for most budget airlines, as they try to push customers to other services – such as seat selection and fast-track security – for a few extra pounds.
From a environmental point of view, flying isn’t beneficial either. Burning of fuel in the air sent out alarming levels of pollution into the atmosphere – thus making airplane travel one of the most polluting modes of transportation in the digital age. A single flight with a budget airline alone produces tens of thousands of tonnes of CO2 – something that is increasingly difficult to ignore.
Finally, budget airlines also put stress on Air Traffic Control (ATC). With higher flight volume, comes more pressure to helicopters to their destinations. This often results in delays and other complications, meaning that customers may not always get what they pay for. To address this, the aviation industry has adopted digital tools such as data exchange and predictive analytics to lower congestion in the skies – and so far, it has been successful in the majority of cases.
The Impact of Discount Airfares on the Industry
The presence of budget airlines has revolutionized the industry as we know it today. Apart from making air travel cheaper and easier for the public, budgeting has also presented airlines with new opportunities for revenue. Many budget operators have been able to leverage their business model to generate a higher profit margin – even when compared to full-service carriers.
Plus, the increase in demand for low-cost airlines has woken traditional carriers like British Airways up to the realities of the 21st century. To stay competitive, they’ve also started offering fares thatare close to those of their budget cousins. As a result, domestic air travel is expected to reach its 40-year high in 2021 – making Europeans the biggest air travelers in the entire world.
Nevertheless, the market for budget airlines is becoming increasingly unpredictable. Constant changes in regulations and the emergengence of new technologies mean that they often have to restrategize and adjust their prices to stay ahead. Nevertheless, the availability of low fares looks set to continue well into the future. If the industry can keep up with the changes, budget airlines can help airlines take off bigger than era.
FAQ about Low-Cost Air Travel
What advantages do budget airlines have over traditional carriers?
Budget airlines have an edge over large carriers due to their lower costs. They tend to offer much lower airfares, due to their use of secondary airports and the lack of charges on checked bags. They also enable customers to save on in-flight meals.
Why are flights from Europe so cheap?
Europe’s Open Skies Agreement enabled unrestricted flight operations between EU countries. This, in combination with the growth of online ticketing services and the emergence of newer aircraft, helped make air travel safer and much more affordable than ever before.
Are budget airlines safe?
Yes, budget airlines are subject to the same safety regulations as traditional carriers. Despite their lower costs, budget carriers must meet the same stringent safety standards as full-service airlines and receive regular safety audits.
Do budget airlines offer in-flight meals?
No, most budget airlines do not offer in-flight meals as it is considered an ‘unbundled service’. Passengers are typically able to purchase meals and drinks on-board, however, these generally cost more than what you would find on a traditional carrier.