The UK used to have several budget airlines. Do you all remember, Buzz, Go and bmi baby? Where have they all gone?
Well, it would appear that in these times of economic austerity only the strong have managed to survive, in the form of Easyjet, Flybe and Ryan Air.
Despite an ailing economy, a never ending stream of sarcastic, user comments about their flights and services and an abundance of hidden costs, these airlines have managed to stay ahead of the game, resulting in all three of them being the U.K’s three most successful airlines.
Read on to find out more about these top, three airlines, in order to compare them for yourselves.
EASY JET CORPORATE HISTORY
Easyjet is a low cost, budget airline which was formed in 1995 by Greek born, British businessman, Stelios Haji – Ioannou.
The company began life as a small national carrier operating two routes between London Luton and Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland, with the company’s first international route, between London Luton Airport and Amsterdam Schipol Airport, commencing in 1996.
The company’s business model is based on the American airline, Southwest Airlines, which has led to Easy Jet’s rapid expansion, where it has gone on to aquire the Swiss airline, TEA Basel, now known as Easy Jet Switzerland, in 1998, the British, budget airline GO, in 2002 and G.B Airways in 2008.
Easyjet was the first company to form the holding company, Easy Group, who also run other hospitality businesses such as Easy Car Hire, Easy Cruises, Easy Hotels, Easy Holidays, Easy Gyms and several financial services.
Today Easyjet is ranked as the United Kingdom’s largest carrier, by passenger number, which has a net worth of over £225 million. The airline owns a fleet of 200, Airbus A321 – 200s, Boeing 737 – 300s and 737 - 700 aircraft, operates 600 routes to 60 countries and has thirty European airport bases, the largest of which is Gatwick Airport in England.
The company’s business headquarters are based at London Luton Airport in the United Kingdom.
For a complete list of all Easyjet’s flight destinations, please visit - www.easyjet.com/en/InspireMe
EASY JET BUSINESS PRACTICES
Easyjet make charges on food, drinks, administration, group bookings, infant seats, sports equipment carriage, flight and name changes, seat selection and cancellations.
Easyjet don’t charge for assistance dogs, wheelchair carriage, either in flight or in the hold, or for crutches.
Easyjet do not provide the carriage of pets, inflight entertainment or inflight meals or drinks, but do provide an inflight shop which sells snacks, alcohol for inflight consumption and hot and cold beverages. Easy Jet also allow passengers to bring onboard their own food for inflight consumption.
Easyjet flight tickets can be purchased online, from a call centre or from airports.
Easyjet allow pregnant women to fly up to their 35th week, all passengers are allowed a personal baggage allowance of 20 kgs per person and allowed hand luggage of one bag no larger than 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm.
For a complete list of the company’s fees and charges, please visit - www.easyjet.com/fees-and-charges
THE EASY JET WEBSITE
The Easyjet website can be found by visiting - www.easyjet.com/en
The Easyjet website is available in eighteen languages and is an easy to navigate site which is packed with traveller information. As well as providing flights, the website also provides accommodation, transport, holidays, travel insurance and travel guides as well as several informative, advisory pages.
The site also features links to their customer service department, has a Contact Us page, a help page, a special offers page, an arrivals and departures board and access to their online newsletter.
Google safe browsing consider the Easyjet website a safe site for customer use. To view Google’s safe browsing report, please visit - www.google.com/safebrowsing/www.easyjet.com
To view the company’s online terms and conditions, please visit - www.easyjet.com/en/terms-and-conditions
To view the company’s online privacy policies, please visit - www.easyjet.com/en/book/privacypolicy
Easyjet is also featured on various social media websites.
To visit their Facebook page, where they have amassed 120,897 Likes, please visit - en-gb.facebook.com/easyJet
To visit their Twitter page, where they have amassed 57,470 followers, please visit - twitter.com/easyJet
Easy Jet can also be found onYouTube, by visiting - www.youtube.com/user/easyJetBroadcast
EASY JET CUSTOMER SERVICE
The Easyjet customer service department is run via a call centre.Their various call centre numbers can be found on their Help page. For United Kingdom residents their customer helpline is available seven days a week between 08.00 and 20.00 hrs on 0843 104 5000. Calls are charged at five pence a minute.
To view a selection of customer comments about Easyjet, please visit the Trustpilot website at - www.trustpilot.co.uk/review/www.easyjet.com - OR the Airline Quality website at - www.airlinequality.com/easyjet.
FLYBE CORPORATE HISTORY
Flybe is an award winning, low cost, budget airline which started life as Jersey European Airways in 1979. The airline was formed by Jersey investor, John Habin, with the mergence of Jersey based, Intra Airways and Bournemouth based, cargo carrier, Express Air Services. JEA ran several daily flights between Jersey and the United Kingdom, before Habin sold the company to the Walker Steele Group in 1983.
In 2000 the company changed the airline’s name to British European Airways, before becoming the Flybe Group in 2002.
As part of the company’s rapid expansion Flybe bought the former BA Connect airline in 2007 and also became the parent company of the Scottish airline , Loganair and the Finnish airline Nordic Air. Flybe also have codeshare agreements with Air France, British Airways, Etihad Airways, Finnair and KLM.
Flybe provides it’s customers with a credit card and a frequent flyer, rewards program called Rewards4all.
Today, Flybe has a net worth of £215 million, is ranked as the United Kingdom’s largest domestic carrier and Europe’s largest regional airline. The company operates 180 routes to 65 countries and has a fleet of 69 bombadier Dash 8 Q400s, Embraer E – 175s and Embraer E – 195 aircraft. The company’s largest airport base is located at Southampton Airport in the United Kingdom and the company’s business headquarters are based at Exeter Airort in the United Kingdom.
For a complete list of Flybe’s destinations, please visit- www.flybe.com/route-map
FLYBE BUSINESS PRACTICES
Flybe have three types of seating arrangements in place, all with different booking and service criteria, but in general their low cost fares incur charges on bookings, group bookings, infant seats, seat selection, name and flight changes, sports equipment, electric wheelchairs and large musical instruments.
Flybe’s low cost flights do not supply inflight meals or drinks, but they do supply an inflight shop for the purchase of food and hot, cold and alcoholic drinks.
Assistance dogs are allowed on some of their flights, with no added charge, but they do not provide pet carriage.
All tickets booked through Flybe are non refundable, electronic tickets with no added admin costs if paid by debit card, but charges are made on credit card payments.
Flybe flight tickets can be purchased online, from call centres or from airports.
Pregnant women are allowed to fly up to their 28th week, all passengers are allowed a 20 kg personal baggage allowance and hand luggage weighing no more than 10 kg in a bag of no more than 55cm x 40 cm x 23 cm.
For a complee list of Flybe’s fees and charges, please visit - www.flybe.com/flying_flybe
THE FLYBE WEBSITE
The Flybe website can be found by visiting – www.flybe.com
The Flybe website is available in nine languages. As well as providing flights the website also provides car hire, hotels, holiday rentals, airport parking, travel insurance, special offers, an arrivals and departures board and links to their Contact Us page, their online mailing list, their rewards program and details about their credit card.
Although their website does appear to provide a selection of informational pages, I personally found the website quite labourious and hard to get around. I found that I was being directed to an e-mail link for certain questions I needed answers to, which meant answers to my questions were not dealt with instantly. I am sure that the answers to my questions were on the site, I just wasn't able to source them.
Google consider the Flybe website as a safe site for customer use. To read Google’s safe browsing report for Flybe, please visit - www.google.com/safebrowsing/www.flybe.com
To visit the website’s user terms and conditions, please visit - www.flybe.com/conditions.
To visit the website’s online privacy policies, please visit -www.flybe.com/privacypolicy.
Flybe can also be found on various social media sites.
To visit their Facebook page, where they have amassed 26,826 Likes, please visit - www.facebook.com/Flybe
To visit their Twitter page, where they have amassed 11,267 followers, please visit - twitter.com/flybe
Flybe also have a page on YouTube, you can visit their page by visiting - www.youtube.com/watch
FLYBE CUSTOMER SERVICE
Flybe’s customer service department is run via a call centre, with both their UK phoneline and their worldwide phoneline both based in Exeter in the U.K.
The phonelines are available from 08.00 – 18.30 hrs, Monday to Fridays, from 08.00 – 16,00 hrs on Saturdays and from 10.00 – 18.00 hrs on Sundays and bank holidays. Calls are charged at ten pence a minute from U.K landlines.
Their UK number is – 0871 700 2000.
Their worldwide number is + 44 (0) 1392 268 529.
RYANAIR CORPORATE HISTORY
Ryanair is an Irish, low cost, budget airline which was formed in 1985 by an Irish business conglomerate which consisted of Liam Lonergan, Christopher Ryan and Tony Ryan. The airline was named after Tony Ryan.
The company began life as a small, shuttle service between Waterford in Ireland and Gatwick Airport in England, as a cheaper alternative to the flights being operated at the time by the expensive, flag carrier airlines British Airways and Aer Lingus.
In 1991, Trinity College economics graduate, Michael O’Leary, who at this time ran a chain of successful Dublin newsagents, was hired as Tony Ryan’s personal financial advisor. In 1994 Ryan promoted O’Leary to deputy chief executive of Ryanair, who went on to further develope the airline into the successful business it is today, from inspiration gained by the business model of the American airline, Southwest Airlines. The company brought out the ailing, British, budget airline Buzz in 2003.
Today, the company has a net worth of 9.1 billion Euros, flies to 165 destinations in 26 countries throughout Europe and North Africa and has fifty European airport bases, the largest of which is Stansted Airport in the United Kingdom.The company own a fleet of 298, Boeing 737 – 800s and one Learjet 45.
The company’s business headquarters are based at Dublin Airport in the Republic of Ireland.
For a complete list of Ryanair’s flightdestinations, please visit - www.ryanair.com/new-routes
RYANAIR BUSINESS PRACTICES
Ryanair charge for administation costs, for seat selection, for infants under two years old, for infant seats, to make ticket amendments, cancellations, sports equipment and musical instruments.
Ryanair do not supply pet carriage, inflight entertainment or inflight meals or drinks, but they do supply a selection of snacks and hot, cold and alcoholic drinks for purchase. Ryanair do allow passengers to bring their own food for inflight consumption.
Ryanair do not charge for assistance dogs, collapsable pushchairs or wheelchairs less than 81 cm high x 119 cm wide x 119 cm deep.
Pregnant women can fly up to their 28th week and all passengers are allowed a 20 kg baggage allowance and a 10 kg cabin allowance providing it is in a bag of no more than 55cm x 40 cm x 20 cm.
All tickets supplied through Ryanair are electronic tickets and can be purchased online, from a call centre or from airports.
For a complete list of Ryanair fees and charges, please visit - www.ryanair.com/regulations-tableoffees
THE RYANAIR WEBSITE
The Ryanair website can be found by visiting - www.ryanair.com
The Ryanair website is available in twenty four languages. It is an easy to navigate and highly informative site. As well as providing flights the website also provides hotels, holiday cottages, airport transfers, airport parking, car hire, special offers, an FAQ page, a Contact Us page, competitions, an arrival and departures board, a home delivery money exchange and links to pages with details about their mobile apps page and Ryanair credit cards.
The website is also full of easy to source, informational and advisory pages.Their website also provides customers with two types of credt cards.
Google consider the Ryanair website as a sfe site for customer use. To read Google’s safe browsing report about the Ryanair website, please visit – www.google.com/safebrowsing/www.ryanair.com
To read Ryanair’s user terms and conditions, please visit - www.ryanair.com/terms-and-conditions
To read Ryanair’s online privacy policies, please visit - www.ryanair.com/privacy
Ryanair can also be found on various social media websites.
To visit their Facebook page, where they have amassed 29,828 Likes, please visit - en-gb.facebook.com/pages/Ryanair
To visit their Twitter page, where they have amassed 3,599 followers, please visit - twitter.com/RyanairOfficial
Ryanair also have a YouTube page, which you can viewby visiting - www.youtube.com/channel
RYANAIR CUSTOMER SERVICE
Ryanair have several options for getting in touch with their customer service agents, a full list of which can be sourced from their Contact Us page.
For U.K residents, general complaints can be made, in writing, either by post to – PO Box 11451, Swords, County Dublin, Republic of Ireland OR by fax on + 353 1812 1676.
For general assistance Ryanair have a customer call centre which can be found on 871 246 0003. This line is available from 09.00 – 17.55 hrs Monday to Fridays only. Rates for this number are charged at ten pence a minute.
For queries which require a rapid response, Ryanair provide a premium rate number, at £1 a minute, on 0905 566 0000, which is available between 08.00 – 19.00 hrs Monday to Fridays, 10.00 – 18.00 hrs on Saturdays and 10.00 – 17 hrs on Sundays.
MY PERSONAL TAKE
In the case of all budget airlines, the prices quoted will invariably not be the price you eventually pay, as administration costs and in some cases, airport taxes, will also be added onto the advertised cost.
I have flown on each of the above airlines, although only the once, so I can not claim to be an expert on them. On all three occfasions I found staff both friendly and helpful, the flights all took off at their allotted times, and in the case of Easyjet and Ryanair, even arrived at my destination early.
However, my advice would be to top up on food and drink before travel in all three cases, as their food and beverage prices are extortianate. Luckily for me I was only on very short haul flights, so I found myself in need of neither.
I would rate them all seven out of ten, both for services provided, both at the airport and inflight, and for the geniality of their staff.
In all three cases, I got what I paid for, a cheap flight.
On reflection, however, I will award Flybe another point,simply because I was particularly impressed with them for providing flights to the Scottish Isles, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, although I did find their website particularly irksome.
Both the Easyjet and Ryanair websites were great however, with both of them being easy to navigate and providing a wealth of information.