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Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Thu Jun 20, 2002 7:12 pm

This is my opinion ; I don't pretend holding the absolute truth.
All remarks are welcome.

For someone who loves aviation and all it's breakthroughs through the years , low cost airlines represent everything that doesn't attract me in aviation : no pioneering of new limits and unchartered territories , no history ; making a flight something very unexceptional ; just stack up passengers and get in the biggest number of flights per day. This really isn't my vision of the "spirit of aviation". They're actually making aviation almost boring : bad colourschemes with big phonenumbers and website adresses , single narrrowbody fleets. I believe quantity is not quality!

Obviously one might argue that they have a low cost function and that they create their own market by introducing people to the flying experience. For someone who has had the occasion to compare fares on some routes , I sometimes wonder if these airlines are really low cost. One example : last week I bought a return ticket BRU-NICE-BRU from SN Brussels Airlines: cost 212 Euros with the possibility of changing the flight once and thereafter receiving the full price back minus 50 Euros if I canceled my flight. The alternative ticket from VEX was 192 Euros with no flexibility at all. I still wonder why they call VEX low cost at 192 Euros...? This is just an example but I know quite a few people that have been extremely deceived by these so called low prices.

I also despise their commercial practices , in particular a certain airline called Ryanair and boss O'Leary. Before Sabena's demise you could come across ads in Belgian newspapers with Manneken Pis peeing on Sabena fares. This must be the summit of unrespectfull commercial practices. After the demise of the Belgian flag carrier O'Leary explained that Sabena and it's employees deserved this and that he was happy (I do remind you that about 6000 workers lost their jobs). I have the impression that O'Leary thinks that for Ryanair to survive it must kill all full fare airlines.

Finally , this is just speculation , I believe that low fare airlines will at some point contribute to bringing down the impeccable safety standards that the industry enjoys. Those of you that read Le Soir (Belgian newspaper) yesterday will probably have read the article about an air controller's thought about the subject. He was blaming low cost airlines (Ryanair in particular again) to breach security rules in an effort to always arrive on time so as to keep the planes the most possible in the air. He was saying that Ryanair pilots reduced safety separations and were agressive! (probably due to their working conditions).

This is why I always prefer paying 20 more Euros when flying.
I believe it might be good to have some low cost airlines to break the monopoly that some incumbent airlines might have but on the other hand this low cost phenomena is taking excessive proportions in Europe. Even some full fare airlines are creating their own low cost subsidiaries. In the last few years low cost airlines have been mushroning in Europe at an alarming rate in my point of view (Buzz , Basiq air , Bmi Baby , Deutsche BA (becoming low cost ) , Neos , Transjet name just a few).
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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Thu Jun 20, 2002 7:19 pm

Everyone's entitled to his/ her own opinion...
However I object to the view that "low cost" airlines are no innovators: by offering virtually everybody a chance to use the airplane as a mean of "public transportation", these airlines have revolutionized the travel behaviors of our societies. The implications of their low fares has also affected the "regular" carriers, urging them to lower fares and become more competitive.
On another point, their operational effectiveness (due to the self-impsoed pressure to lower costs) is AFAIK tremendous and has spurred some very innovative ideas.

Therefore, altough I can understand some of your points, I have to stress that the low cost concept has brought a lot of innovation into commercial aviation.
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Thu Jun 20, 2002 11:51 pm

I agree with what you said about O'Leary and the Sabena comments.
MOL is arrogant pikey scum! His airline might bring extremely low fares to the majority, but I'd never fly with FR.

Just my opinion.... Big grin
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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Fri Jun 21, 2002 4:19 am

I agree with Englandair altough I am in North America so I wouldn't fly them anyways. They shouldn't be allowed to advertise like that. Air Canada isn't like that with WJ and Westjet isn't like with AC. Also the ATC thing isn't like that here in Canada or anywhere else in North America.
Topic Author
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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Fri Jun 21, 2002 6:10 pm

Nice to see that it's still possible to get reasoned arguments on this forum without having to fight about it!
Thanks fellow aviation pasionaria  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Cheers SAA-SAL
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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Fri Jun 21, 2002 6:33 pm

Very well written SAA-SAL ! I enjoyed reading it.

Best regards, SN-A330
I would rather be flying...
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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Fri Jun 21, 2002 6:47 pm

I agree, although I don't subscribe to all your agruments, you are giving reasons for your standpoints and are trying to back this up with facts. IMO, that's what an enjoyable discussion is about - we don't have to end up with the same opinion, but we can shed more lights into why people are for or against something and why they have a differing view.
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Fri Jun 21, 2002 7:24 pm

I don't think low cost airlines aren't "no pioneering of new limits and unchartered territories".

Take Ryanair for example:
they took an airport with no future except for some charters and cargo flights (Charleroi CRL) and it becomes an hub with more than 1 million of pax per year.
I think they were pioneer in this case (who of you have ever thought two years ago that CRL could become an hub??).
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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Fri Jun 21, 2002 7:33 pm

Airblue, do they market it as Charleroi or Brussels? If Ryanair were to advertise the place where they actually fly you to and not where they would like you believe they do, how many passengers would fly on them? If they would get a similar number as at present, then, yes, Ryanair are innovative/pioneering.

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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Fri Jun 21, 2002 9:00 pm

Thanks to the low cost airlines I travel to Europe twice a month. This would not be possible on the big airlines - I found that for weekend flights the big airlines charge significantly more (esp to Italy and German but less so to Oslo) for Saturday morning departures and Monday everning returns. (£80 Geneva compared to £150 on Swiss - £79 to Munich compared to £200 on BA etc)

But the most insidious consequence of the big airlines is the outrageous fares charged to business passengers in ECONOMY class. A day trip to Frankfurt will cost £500 in Economy. Paris cost about £400, Nice £600! These are major economic barriers to European integration and have significant undesirable economic consequence.

The big airlines are the enemy of economic integration in Europe,

Lets face it - the big airlines survive because they have the all the good slots at the major airports - it is like having the prime location on the high street (with no rent) and your competitors are force to operate on the back street. it is a very uneven playing field.

Can't we get out of the mindset that aviation is a glamour industry with national pride at stake - lets thing of it as mass transport for all!!
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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Fri Jun 21, 2002 11:08 pm

Very interesting report SAA-SAL!!

Congrats!!  Smile

Some months ago, my parents celebrated 20 years of mariage. The whole family had decided to arrange as a surprise a city trip to Barcelona.

I did all the bookings. I thought the same like you: let's go with Virgin Express for the price. When I got the price of VEX, it was €500 for two persons BRU-BCN-BRU. Because I found it a way too expensive, I checked Iberia and Sabena. The price on Iberia and Sabena was €125 cheaper!!! Just unbelieveble. Of course I didn't book them with a Virgin ticket.

Just like you have with Nice-Brussels.

Enjoy your trip to nice!! And enjoy SNBA!!  Smile

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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Fri Jun 21, 2002 11:58 pm

I absolutely agree with SAA-SAL. And at most times lost cost airlines are useless for me. They often have routes I don't need and no network. I often fly long-haul and get with my earned miles free flights for Europe. That is why I do not use low cost airlines.
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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Sat Jun 22, 2002 2:05 am

Yes I agree that sometimes the Low-Cost airlines sometimes aren't much cheaper. But here in Canada it is because of AC's cost structure so they launched their own discount brand.
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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Sat Jun 22, 2002 2:51 am

I personally like low fares airlines because they are a different experience to full service airlines. Regarding prices i checked flights with Ryanair for a weekend in Dublin in july 6th and the best price was something silly like £240 for 2 people return. and for me it would add £50 on to that to get to STN and back as i live in the Midlands. so i checked the price from LBA - DUB with FR and the price for that was £312.02 for 2 people return. so decided to check bmibaby from EMA-DUB on the same date and got £120 return for 2 people and i live 20mins away. Where people say that Ryanair is the lowest of the low i dont personally agree.

Regarding your point on the likes of FR bringing down the safety record i dont belive thats so. they do everything keeping to the guidelines as do all airlines (possibly with the odd exception). So i dont agree with that.

Apart from that what a good read

Regards BDRules
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RE: Why I Don't Like "Low Cost"

Sat Jun 22, 2002 3:19 am

I respect and most certainly understand your opinion [I had it for years], but I can not agree with it.

The fact of the matter is that the traditional carriers [BA, LH, AF, KL, name them] were born in a world regulated by bilaterals. These carriers in fact were apart from OPEC the worlds biggest cartel!
They have charged their customers way too much for ages. Air travel was never, never ever exposed to the laws of the free market until quite recently. Therefore airtravel had become terribly expensive, and was not really customer orientated. The only customers that mattered were the high yield first [and to a lessor extent] the business class pax.
Furthermore due to the lack of real competition over the previous 50 years [it all started with the treaty of Chicago 1944], the structure and management of the traditionals has become like a dinosaur, big, ugly, slow moving. If they don't adapt to current market conditions they're heading for extinction. Just look at pilot salaries, which in my opinion is the ultimate proof that they were never really exposed to the laws of the free market.
In a real free market place like many other businesses: if your company doesn't perform, or if you charge your customers too much for the product you deliver, you're out of business because there are lots of competitors out there who can and will outperform you. These practices/rules of free trade are only now starting to become effective to air travel. This is the first step for aviation, air travel to maturity! Mind you, it will take another 15 to 30 years to mature...

Who wants all that service on a one hour flight from LON to AMS/BRU
/FRA etc.? These low cost carriers [VEX does not really qualify as a LCC] prove that there is a huge market out there for people who just want to go from A to B, at the cheapest price possible. I applaud these LCC for doing so!

However, over the years the travelling public has become accustomed to a "normal" level of service that for the most part they don't need and never asked for in the first place. With LCC [as MOL put it] you get what you pay for: you pay shit, you don't get any service whatsoever. The downside off course is that a lot of people don't realise that beside the no-service on board, they also don't get services like: cancelling rights, changing tickets, rebooking when flights are delayed, rebooking to other airlines to limit delay, no hotel service when the flight is delayed to the next day, large travel distances to the airport etc.etc.etc. But this is part of learning process, growing up process.
Just look at the USA how the LCC have emerged, learned and matured: Southwest [the mother of all LCC], jetBlue, Airtran, etc..

LCC are not unsafe. They may very well be more safe than your average medium airline, since LCC subcontract virtually everything. Maintenance is subcontracted to the dedicated maintenance providers, people who now what their business is about. They are all closely monitored by the aviation authorities.

I think the age of glory in air travel is over. Those "golden years", where aviation was something special, are over. Air travel is now maturing, it is a product, nothing special anymore. And the cheaper that product becomes, the more people can and will be able to use it. When something special [like air travel] becomes available for the mass, we generally refer to that as progress, welfare! I don't have a problem with that...

Just my two eurocents...

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