Budget Airline Travel

Apparently 80% of airliner manufacturer order books now depend on the budget airline business. Scary.

I still do a lot of business and domestic air-travel compared to my pledge to reduce it to a minimum, and that will probably continue well into 2010, depending how working life pans out. Sigh. But it is a long time – more than 10 years – since I even considered business class on a business trip.

Recently (like many) I have been taking advantage of budget airlines in Europe (Ryanair in particular) after several years of using internal and transatlantic US carriers. In terms iof service I do have favourite airlines, including BA by choice, if they have an economic fare / route for a given trip. But Ryanair is just too cheap in my opinion. For industry economic viability, for air-safety ultimately if the crew are all sales staff on commission, and for environmental balance in encouraging more discretionary travel. As I said in my pledge I’d support higher taxes on aviation fuel and travel – but of course being trans-national-borders that is unlikely to be possible to administer equitably – and most people would probably reject a taxation solution anyway.

I am amongst the “never again” crowd when it comes to Ryanair – yet perversly, despite having ludicroulsy inconvenient airport locations at the remote end, they often use a convenient local airport at the home end – I expect there is a BAA distortion in the market too, as well as the disruptive pricing policy.

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