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When Low Cost Airlines are Not Low Cost: Most Expensive Fares Challenge

Published February 24, 2014

Low cost airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet are famous for their low cost flights, and currently advertise seats from as little as £18.99 and £22.49 each way on some routes. Norwegian Airlines who operate a base at London’s Stansted airport advertise flights from £29.90 each way if you’re going to the right place at the right time. Great, if you can get it! But perhaps you fancy taking your family on holiday at a peak period such as Easter school holidays and haven’t booked your flights ahead of time…. just how much could you end up paying?

We like to have some fun here at Low Cost Airline Guide, so we wanted to set ourselves a challenge and then throw it out to the readers of our blog and across social media to see if anyone can beat us. Unfortunately for those of you who have no option but to travel at this time of year, they’re a far cry from £18.99!

So What’s The Challenge?

The school spring term holidays (Easter holidays) in England encompasses the dates from 5th April until 20th April. We scoured the web to find flights on low cost airlines that departed from any London airport during these dates, gave a trip duration of around a week and returned no later than the 20th April so as not to miss the start of the new term. We challenge you to see if you can find something substantially more expensive than we did!

1st Place: Santorini, Greek Islands (£426.70 per person, Norwegian)

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Our most expensive flight was to the Greek island of Santorini. With its white-washed buildings perched on the edge overlooking the sea, hotels set inside caves and space to sit outside while the world goes by, Santorini can feel rather decadent.

Flying on low cost airline Norwegian Airlines from London Gatwick near the end of the spring holidays leaving on Saturday, April 12th and returning Saturday April 19th, the cost was £426.70. The separate flights were priced at £220.90 outbound and £205.80 inbound.

2nd Place: Lanzarote, Canary Islands (£405.40 per person, Norwegian)

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

This perfect place for a family getaway has less development than some other Spanish islands and also enjoys a good few hours of warm sunshine each day even in the spring time.

Norwegian Airlines is again the priciest we could find at £405.40, but at least you get to fly earlier out of London Gatwick on Monday, April 7th and return on Monday, April 14th.

3rd Place: Cyprus (£381.98 per person, Easyjet)

Lefkosia, Cyprus

Lefkosia, Cyprus

Cyprus enjoys a mild winter and so it starts getting warm enough to take a swim as early as March. Paphos is a good resort for a visit and tends to avoid being too overcrowded unlike other holiday resorts in Cyprus. Temperatures can reach up to 22C, with the occasional brief shower to keep things interesting.

We found three flights on Easyjet, which cost from £381.98 down to £338.98 round-trip tickets, all departing from London Stansted Airport. For a budget airline that prides itself on affordable double-digit prices, close to four hundred smackers for one person was quite a shock.

The flights we found were:
Sat, Apr 12th – Sat, Apr 19th, £163.99 + £217.99 = £381.98
Sat, Apr 5th – Sun, Apr 13th, £217.99 + 140.99 = £358.98,
Sat, Apr 5th – Sat, Apr 12th, £217.99 + 120.99 = £338.98

Another popular holiday destination in Cyprus is Larnaca, which also caught our attention with perennial favourite, Norwegian Airlines, offering a round-trip flight from London Gatwick on Saturday, April 12th for £367.70. The outbound ticket was cheaper at £160.90, but the inbound one arriving back on Saturday, April 19th cost a steep £206.80.

4th Place: Crete, Greek Islands (£327.98, Ryanair)

Chania, Crete

Chania, Crete

If you are partial to a larger island to explore but with the great base of Chania to begin your holiday, then Ryanair might just be your budget airline of choice. Ryanair fly out of London Stansted, so they’re quite easy to get to.

Two flights were available which tipped the scales into the expensive category. One left on the 12th April and the other earlier on the 5th April, but the round-trip tickets cost a surprising £327.98 and £277.98 respectively.

The flights we found were:
Sat, Apr 12th – Sat, Apr 19th, £163.99 + £163.99 = £327.98

Flights Prices

Prices shown for each flight cover the flight out from London and the return flight back for one person. In most cases, a family of four would need to multiply the cost by four, though there might be some discounts for younger travellers. There was no factoring in for the additional cost of hand luggage, extra suitcases, excess kilos beyond luggage weight allowances, etc.

We sourced the flights from the respective airlines on their web sites using their search feature. The prices we quote in this post are from searches performed on 14th February, so are inevitably subject to change.

Can You Do Better?

Now it’s your turn. What’s the most outrageous round-trip ticket you can find from London UK to a European destination during the Easter holidays between 5th April until 20th April for a one week stay?

Write to us on Facebook or Google+. Add your comments with the flights you find… Will you beat us? Are you up for the flight challenge? The post will be updated with the results if anyone is able to find more expensive flights.

– Departures from any London airport
– 6, 7 or 8 night trip between 5th April until 20th April
– European destinations
– Flights on low cost airlines only
– Return flights, excluding all add-on charges

Image credits:
Santorini, by pedrosz (flickr)
Lanzarote, by luc_viatour (flickr)
Cyprus, by samuel_santos (flickr)
Chania, Crete by jdlasica (flickr)

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