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Why low cost carriers are killing the traditional carriers, in two screenshots

I need to book a single flight from Brussels to Madrid in the evening of 27th November. And yes, before you shout at me, I have to leave after 1800 on 27th in Brussels, and arrive before 0800 on 28th in Madrid, so trains are not possible. I need only a single ticket to Madrid, as after the event there I will be departing elsewhere.

Brussels Airlines is the only airline with flights from Zaventem in the evening of 27th. If I ask for a single, this is what I get – €307.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 23.36.08

If I add a return trip, on some date a while into the future, I get these prices:

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 23.33.28

Even if I add on the price of a cheap return (about €50), I still end up with a total – €170 – that’s considerably lower than the price for a single. The single ticket is for economy+ – basically a crappy snack, and the same small, poky seat.

So what am I doing instead? Flying with Ryanair from Charleroi. Standard price: €20.39, admittedly excluding fees. I can even then afford to take a taxi to my destination upon arrival. If I wanted a return I would simply add the price of the return.

Your defence, Brussels Airlines?


5 Comments

  • Joe Thorpe |

    I flew back to Ireland from Krakow & straight back out to Gdansk because it was cheaper & less hassle than rail :-) Travel often makes no sense. I have tickets to fly to Manchester from Dublin with Ryanair & onto Moscow with Easyjet with return flights the total came in at under €100 flights direct from Ireland were beyond the realms of fantasy that someone would pay them & entailed going via Heathrow booking through a tour operator as I couldn’t work out how to get there. While I was thinking about booking it I heard from a friend in England who is a regular visitor to Moscow about how he got there so it was a case of joining up the dots between Ryanair & Easyjet rather than Aer lingus & I presume BA or Aeroflot (Which I would have refused to fly on)

  • Martin Holterman |

    The last two times I flew to Brussels (from Italy) I used Brussels Airline. Charleroi is just too annoying. But then I didn’t have to pay for the ticket…

  • Brussels Airlines |

    Dear Jon,

    It’s indeed correct that in most cases a one-way ticket is more expensive than a return ticket.

    The majority of our customers book a return ticket, so for them we offer an attractive b.light product. For passengers who want more flexibility, like for example flying to their destination with us, and returning with another airline, we offer our b.flex economy+ ticket. The advantages of b.flex economy+ are more than only a snack: the ticket is fully refundable and you can change your flight free of charge. Besides that, you have access to the Fast Lane at the security and you can take 6 more kg of hand luggage with you.

    If we can assist you with anything else, please let us know.

    Kind regards,
    Claudia
    Brussels Airlines Social Media Team

  • Brusselsblogger |

    I regularly end up booking “fake” return flights with Brussels Airlines just to benefit from the cheaper fare for one-way.

    It’s just stupid. And the reply from Brussels Airlines above does not explain why you can’t get at least the same price for one way that the two-way ticket would cost. Positibe though, that they did reply to your article (did you tweet/mail them about it?)

  • Piet Van |

    I follow your reasoning about single fair tickets, but not on the reference to Ryainair. Why are they cheaper? Because they refuse to pay airport taxes (so taxpayers have to pay for airport facilities, even if they never take a plane), and dodge labour standards (all Belgian staff are employed under Irish labour law, a contradictio in terminis) and social security contributions, via middleman and bogus self-employed. So please refer to e.g. Vueling for decent pricing on single trips, or, indeed, take a train. Cheers

So, what do you think ?