0 min left

Study Suggests Low-Cost Carriers May Not Be Best Value

3D imagery, 737 MAX, MAX, 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX8, 737 MAX 9

International luxury carriers found to offer better value than low cost counterparts

The traditional belief that low-cost carriers may be a better value is getting a new challenge, thanks to data compiled by Australian booking engine Rome2Rio. In a report released by the company, low-cost carriers ranked in the mid-pack when it comes to frugal travel.

Overall, Singapore’s Scoot was ranked as the world’s cheapest airline, charging around seven cents per kilometer. The top five included Jetstar Airways, Russia’s Aeroflot, Tiger Airways and AirAsia.

In a surprise twist, Middle East carrier Emirates was ranked the sixth cheapest airline in the world, charging an average of nine cents per kilometer flown. Other luxury carriers ranked in the top 15, including Singapore Airlines tied with Cathay Pacific at seventh place – each charging an average of 10 cents per kilometer.

Low-cost carrier Ryanair, known for their low prices, ranked tied for eleventh overall, behind Emirates and Singapore Airlines. However, Ryanair was ranked cheaper than low-cost competitor EasyJet: on average, Ryanair charged 11 cents per kilometer flown compared to EasyJetat 15 cents per kilometer.

“Our analysis is intended to be a conversation starter, not a definitive statement on pricing trends or a given airline’s place in any particular pecking order,” the company writes on their website. “We’ve analyzed our data to provide a snapshot of global pricing across international and domestic carriers.”

In the United States, low-cost carriers Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines joined regional carrier Sun Country Airlines as the cheapest, each charging less than 14 cents per kilometer flown. Virgin America and Hawaiian Air tied with low cost carrier Allegiant Air for fourth place, each charging an average of 14 cents per kilometer.

Of the legacy carriers, American Airlines (billed as US Airways) was the cheapest, charging an average of 22 cents per kilometer. Delta Air Lines charged an average of 23 cents per kilometer, while United Airlines charged an average of 30 cents per kilometer. Southwest Airlines came in between the group, charging an average of 25 cents per kilometer.

The research was based on economy airfare from the beginning two months of 2016. From there, the booking engine analyzed over one million fares, limiting each airline to 10,000 samples while recording the most competitive fares.

[Photo: Ryanair]

Comments are Closed.
sdsearch August 17, 2016

Isn't it a little silly to compare based only on cost per distance, but then lump the carriers with longest routes in with the carriers with only shorthaul routes? I bet Emirates would be ranked much lower if you factored out their longest flights, and only compared for the same flight distances that shorthaul LCCs fly.. It's the fact that cost isn't always proportional to distance that makes carriers with the very longest flights seem cheaper when you look at cost vs distance. Also, who care if Emirates is less cost per distance if you have to fly way further out of your way to connect on Emirates? Ie, are they less cost per total origin-to-destination distance (even with out-of-the-way connections), or are they only less cost per flight segment distance (nonstops)?

viajero boricua August 17, 2016

It shouldn't shock anyone that some airlines like Russia's Aeroflot or even Emirates are on the "value side" since they fly a lot of very long-distance flights due to where their main hubs are... But for those airlines in India or SE Asia, like Tiger, Jetstar or Airasia, those fly a lot of short-hoppers of less than 300 mi. or 500 km. one-way. Wonder when this researcher and its' sponsor will tell if the comparison does include an average of extras usually tacked to "low-cost" airlines, so you can properly compare above regional boundaries.

emcampbe August 17, 2016

Not surprised. I've never found low cost carriers to be good value - either in the US or Europe. I suspect they are also just talking about just the price of the ticket - not extras - and I suspect the low-cost carriers would fall further down the list this way, since, say, Emirates doesn't charge for food/drinks, while Ryanair does. What i do see as interesting here is the comparison within the US carriers, where DL is reported at 23 cents/km, where UA charges 30 cents/km. This definitely does not match with what DL promotes, where they claim their improvements have allowed them to charge more than their other US competitors.

JohnnyRockets August 17, 2016

Yep good conversation starter. There are not comparing or ranking apples to apples. EK doesn't fly 300 mile flight as often as UA nor can UA charge $10 for such flight. End of conversation.

ksandness August 17, 2016

I lived on the West Coast in a city served by Southwest Airlines for many years, but when I compared fares, I always found that the legacy carriers charged the same or less. Living in Minneapolis, I now fly Sun Country whenever possible, mostly because of their very reasonable last-minute first class upgrades, which sometimes let me fly first class for less than Delta charges for coach. Southwest offers limited service in Minneapolis, but I have not needed to go anywhere they fly out of MSP.