Friday, November 14, 2008

The $13 Flight Takes Off

Cheapie Irish airline Ryanair announced last week that it plans to offer service from it's base outside London to New York, Boston, LA, San Francisco, and some as yet undetermined cities in Florida. The cost? Ten euros, currently around 13 bucks. I'm assuming that's one way, but still, that seems too good to be true. Of course, this apparently is too good to be true, since Ryanair charges fees for everything from checking in at a counter to speaking with an agent. Add in the fees and you still have a round-trip flight to England for, say, a hundred bucks. Is it worth it?

I've never flown Ryanair, but apparently it out-budgets American budget haulers. The windows don't have shades, the seats don't recline, there's no back pocket in which to stuff smelly sandwiches and boring magazines, and you have to put up with a live version of QVC for the duration of your flight, with attendants hawking everything from beverages and meals to jewlery, watches, and George Foreman grills. OK, the George Foreman grills might be stretching it, but you see my point.

If you're hopping from one European city to another all of this is probably an inconvenience you'll put up with for an hour or two in order to get to your destination cheaply. The question becomes whether enough consumers will be willing to fly for at least six hours without being able to recline their seat, and with what amounts to a live auction going on in front of them. Yes, suddenly we're all poor, and maybe this will be the only way any of us can afford international travel for the next couple of years, if we can afford it at all. On the other hand, maybe I'm just too old for this kind of crap, because I think I'd rather stay home or take a cheap flight to Ft. Lauderdale than spend that number of hours trapped upright in a small seat breathing bad air.

No start date for the service has been announced, because Ryanair has yet to purchase the needed planes. Once it's up and running, we'll see what the market will bear, and how frugal the American consumer can really be.


tunsie said...

i would equate those prices with an atlantic city bus,where it gererally free or at least near free,in order 2 get that tourism money.I travel qantas as a frequent flyer to sydney,capital of the world,australia

J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

I suspect if the food and beverages are as cheap as the rest of this airline. Youmay hear plenty of riders who say "erin go blllllaaaaaaahhhhhh!" into the bags.

Wonder if they sell barf bags as well?

As a Irishman let me tell you, the Irish are the one ethnic group who are super cheap! Somehow you never hear folks "irish someone down in price".

tunsie said...

I have been in business a long time,and the first and foremost thing that WILL destroy a business is GREED along with some other intrinsic variables,but everybody is an EXPERT.I use 2 talk till I was blue in the face but now I just live and let die. if someone is wealthier than me and they r talking,believe me U experts I am going 2 listen.tunsie.tunsie.tunsie