This is exactly the scenario I predicted a while ago.
I was sceptical about EZY's shift towards major airports, especially LGW, and at the time, I wondered how they could possibly maintain ultra low fares in the process.
With the consolidation going on in the industry, there seems to be an emergence of a middle tier between the real low cost operators and the full service airlines.
-LowCost no frills, out of town smaller airport operators, eg Ryanair, Buzz, Go (whilst it lasts)
-MediumCost no frills, some major airports, eg EasyJet
-Full Service carriers, eg flag carriers.
The current trends have been for the full service carriers to either create their own low cost brands or to restructure and slash fares to compete, eg BA's new fare structure and bmi's new baby bmi.
With this change, the likes of BA are now matching and more regularly beating the fares offerred by EasyJet; No frills v Full service and a FF program for the same price......I know which one I would pick.
Ryanair, on the other hand, has stuck to its business model ruthlessly, avoiding the more expensive airports as much as possible. The advertising might be a little misleading at times, but they fill planes, and full planes mean that they make money, simple. Full planes mean they can maintain rockbottom prices.
If I had money to invest tomorrow and had to put it in either RYR or EZY, I would have to go with RYR.
I am concerned that EZY seem to be in an awkward position between lowcost and full service carriers, and for the reasons expressed above, I'm not sure it's a position where they can succeed in the long term.
Logic should dictate that flights out of the more costly airports on EZY's network cost more than flights to the same destination from, say, LPL or LTN.
A brief browse of their reservation system suggests this is not the case, so I can only presume that the extra costs incurred at the busier airports are being passed onto all EZY customers across its network. Perhaps that is why it is cheaper for a weekend return to Amsterdam next week on KLM or BA out of MAN thanit is on EZY out of LPL.
The bottom line is that EZY is a no frills carrier and as such it should offer no frills, low cost fares. My concern is that they are losing sight of that basic principle which could in time mean it loses the low cost customer base, a segment of the market which EZY itself created in the UK, to the benefit of us all.
So I drive a 4x4. So what?! Tax the a$$ off me for it...oh, you already have... :-(