Sunday, December 25, 2005

Two weeks in April with Low Cost Airlines

In April 2005, I was in Europe on business for a week and was able to add two weeks of vacation to the end of my business trip. I used that time to take advantage of European low cost airlines (LCA) to get around the continent. In the U.S. we call them “discount airlines.” I had wanted to try a European LCA trip for a couple of years but did not have the opportunity.

I’d known about Ryan and easyJet for a long time but did not realize so many other players have entered the LCA market. An Internet search turned up the following URL at Wikipedia:
This article is extremely helpful for discount travelers. I eventually booked flights over the Internet with four different carriers: Ryan, easyJet, German Wings and Air Berlin.

I flew with those carriers to the corners of Europe. Through the LCA I was able to visit Portugal, Estonia, Latvia and Greece. It was a wonderful experience that involved travel to alternate airports, sleeping overnight in air terminals, bus transfers and amazing bargains.

A patient planner should consider booking flights early. I was able to get very good prices for my flights, in part, because I booked them a month in advance. The airfare on easyJet from Tallinn to Berlin cost me only €1. Of course the airport needs to function, so the true cost of the airfare was €23.49 with airport taxes and landing fees applied. Still, it’s not a bad deal for a two-hour flight. My most expensive flight cost €92 for the last leg of my journey from London Stansted to Lisbon.

All in all, I found each carrier to be safe, pleasant and affordable. I would recommend the experience to anyone. Although I expected Ryan to be the best LCA, I was surprised that I had the best experience with easyJet. To be fair, I flew four times with easyJet and only once with the other three airlines. Nonetheless, the easyjet experience was almost perfect. Clearly they have been listening to their customers and improving their service since getting poor reviews a few years ago.


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