This year’s Which? airline survey has seen no-frills carriers take a nose-dive, while all-inclusive airlines are flying high. It seems we all appreciate good service in the air, but how much more are we prepared to pay for it?
According to our survey of more than 5,500 Which? members, Swiss, Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa are the top three short-haul airlines.
Fly with these and you’ll find that in-flight meals, drink and hold baggage are included in the fare, as is online check-in and choosing a seat online in advance. With Swiss, snowboarders and skiers can also take gear for free on top of the luggage allowance.
All the added airline extras
These flourishes or ‘frills’ are the first things to go when we fly ‘budget’. Languishing at the bottom of the table of 16 short-haul airlines were Ryanair, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways and Monarch. These four all charge extra for food and drink, hold luggage and reserving seats in advance.
What seems like an attractive fare at first can soon mount up. Many respondents complained about extra charges, including ‘rip-off’ card surcharges. So have we simply had enough of flying with no-frills airlines?
The answer seems to be no. In our survey more people flew with no-frills easyJet than any other airline on short-haul flights.
We all want a good deal, so perhaps we’re happy to forego the luxuries as long as the price is right. But even if an airline offers good fares, that’s no excuse for poor service. For instance, Ryanair and Thomas Cook Airlines only scored two out of five stars for value for money. And Ryanair only scored one star for its food and drink and boarding arrangements.
Can no-frills be a good thing?
Perhaps the biggest reason for people taking no-frills flights is the airlines’ wide range of routes to places you can’t otherwise easily get to. I’ve definitely gone with no-frills airlines in the past for this very reason. And on a short European flight, I’d rather go for a cheaper fare that doesn’t include a meal, because I wouldn’t need to eat on-board.
Plus, Aer Lingus came near the top of our survey table, proving that no-frills airlines can offer a good service. You’ll also have to pay extra for food and drinks on-board this Irish carrier and to choose a seat in advance online. But its airline staff, boarding arrangements and cabin environment all got high ratings.
Do you use no-frills airlines, and if so, why? If you prefer all-inclusive flights, how much extra are you prepared to pay?
Do you fly with no-frills airlines?
Yes (41%, 117 Votes)
Only when I have to (41%, 116 Votes)
No (18%, 50 Votes)
Total Voters: 289