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Why pay more?

Or why European budget carriers are cheaper than their US equivalents. Why? Could it be because of freedom? For anyone who has flown low-cost carriers in both Europe and the United States, have you ever wondered why there’s such a huge difference in airfares? Airlines on both sides of the Atlantic use the same aircraft, with similar seat densities, and an overall similar bare-bones level of service. And yet travelers in the US seem to be shelling out more for each flight.

But, to us, anyway (and, the always interesting and astute authors of this post) it always feels like you pay more in the USA.

Certainly – for us, anyway -one reason is that Europe is packed with goodness, diversity and a compact place in the land. It’s a big place, geographically speaking, but with some many countries arm-in-arm together, and with uniform ways of working, the onus. The United States has a larger land area and population compared to individual European countries. As a result, there are more domestic flights and routes within the US, which increases the cost of maintaining an extensive network. Additionally, the US airline industry has undergone consolidation over the years, leading to reduced competition among major carriers, which can contribute to higher prices.

Airport fees, security charges, and taxes play a significant role in determining the overall cost of a plane ticket. These fees can vary significantly between countries and regions, with some European countries offering lower airport fees than many US airports. The geographical size of the United States often leads to longer flight distances for domestic travel. This can result in higher fuel costs and increased operating expenses compared to shorter flights within Europe.

And here is a telling reason: Some US airlines have adopted a pricing model where the base fare might seem lower, but they charge additional fees for services such as checked baggage, seat selection, and in-flight amenities. These ancillary fees can significantly increase the final ticket price. Europe, less so.

Finally, Some European low-cost carriers have successfully adopted budget business models, providing no-frills flights at lower prices. In the US, while there are low-cost carriers, legacy carriers dominate the market and often have higher operating costs due to various factors like unionized workforces and older aircraft fleets. One other factor could be that Europeans also love their trains (we do!) and so they are somewhat spoilt for choice when it comes to holidays and business trips.

So, when you think of your next trip on an aircraft, do a little investigation and dig into what the real costs are, versus how many are mandated, versus how many are pure cheekiness on the part of the airline. Especially after Covid, it’s a buyer’s market.

Even better, big European airlines have smaller offshoots; ie Lufthansa’s baby, Eurowings. Click here to book.

easyJet is another top choice in Europe. Click here to discover your next flight.

Planes, trains, buses and more. That’s OMIO. Click here to book and save!

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