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All airlines are not created equal, reveals Skyscanner

Getting the cheapest flights now depends entirely on your travel situation

Leading travel search site Skyscanner, which compares both ‘no frills’ carriers and scheduled airlines, has found that in many scenarios, ‘low cost’ carriers can be more expensive than their ‘full fare’ counterparts, depending on the travellers’ individual needs.

Due to the complexity of the fare structures, with additional charges for check-in bags, food, seat selection, and different fees depending on how the flight is paid for, getting the cheapest flights now depends entirely on the individual’s travel situation.

Basic Traveller with hand luggage only – fly Ryanair

For one adult and one child flying with hand luggage only, and purchasing no food or drink onboard, no-frills carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet still tend to offer the lowest fares, with BA being the most expensive

Airline Flight
Ryanair £264.92
easyJet £287.96 ^
Thomson £337.96
Monarch £341.96
BA £359.32

Flights for one adult and one child, from a London airport, to Malaga, departing 1 July, returning 8 July 2012. Searches made on 25 April 2012

Flying with 20kg check-in bag – fly easyJet

Additional fees vary considerably from airline to airline; in the same scenario, adding the cost of a 20kg check-in bag, easyJet becomes the cheapest option, and Ryanair’s fee jumps by £70, making it just £10 cheaper than BA, which moves in to third place.

Airline Flight 20kgs Bag Total
easyJet £278.96 £30 £317.96 ^
Ryanair £264.92 £70 £334.92 *
BA £359.32 £0 (23kgs) £359.32
Thomson £337.96 £30 £367.96
Monarch £341.96 £31.98 £373.94

Flights for one adult and one child, from a London airport, to Malaga, departing 1 July, returning 8 July 2012. Searches made on 25 April 2012

Skiers and Golfers – fly BA

For those wanting to carry sports equipment, scheduled airlines can offer the lowest fares. Whereas BA and Swiss carry skis or golf clubs as part of the normal baggage allowance for no extra fee, easyJet charge £50 and Ryanair charge a whopping £100, adding a considerable amount to the total fare.

Skyscanner compared the total costs for one adult flying from a London airport for a ski holiday to Geneva and a golf holiday to Faro, and found that BA offered the cheapest fare in both examples, once sports equipment was added.

Airline Flight 20kgs Bag Skis/Snowboard Total
BA (LGW) £104 £0 £0 ~ £104.00
Swiss (LHR) £109 £0 £0 ~ £109.00
easyJet (LTN) £56 £18.00 £50 £124.00 ^

Flight from a London airport, to Geneva, departing 5 January, returning 12 January 2013. Searches made on 25 April 2012

Airline Flight 20kgs Bag Golf clubs Total
BA (LCY) £216.50 £0 £0 ~ £216.50
Ryanair (STN) £98.87 £70 £100 ~ £268.87

Flight from a London airport, to Faro departing 4 September, returning 11 September 2012. Searches made on 8 May 2012

Sam Baldwin, Skyscanner Travel Editor commented:

“The airline offering the cheapest fare depends entirely on the individual’s needs. For the lone passenger travelling with just hand baggage, no-frills airlines generally still offer the cheapest fares. But for families, groups, or those carrying sports equipment, it is much less clear cut, and in many cases, scheduled airlines may offer the best deals.”

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