The BBC recently conducted some interesting research into low-cost airline pricing structures.
While the research compares low cost airline prices to British Airways, for the Maltese traveller this is just as applicable to Air Malta, Lufthansa etc (i.e. the “premium” airlines).
The short lesson is, never assume that Ryanair and Easyjet will always be cheaper and always check alternative fares, even if you expect them to be more expensive.
Another key point (and this is often overlooked in the desire to book what seems to be a “bargain basement” fare) is to factor in the additional costs of the low-cost airlines. Air Malta, for example, will allow Flypass permanent members 30kg in checked in luggage: you’d pay up to €150 return for that on Ryanair.
As the Headforpoints blog (which helpfully alerted me to this research) concludes, “the low cost carriers have been hugely successful in convincing people – often wrongly – that they are actually ‘low fare’ airlines“.
Mercifully, given the size of Malta, Ryanair can’t fly to an alternative airport miles from anywhere, but rest assured they’d land on Filfla if it was cheaper for them to do so.
Lest we forget, you can’t earn frequent flyer points with Ryanair, either.