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Wednesday 27 April 2011

There’s Low-Costs, And Then There’s Low Cost

It seems that our old friends at Ryanair, the Millwall of air carriers (everybody hates us and we don’t care) are in the news again, and for the wrong reason: misleading advertising, something that I’ve noticed before. And something that may be news to those who think that you only get bargain fares on “low-cost” carriers is that full service carriers offer them too.

When looking for possible destinations for my Royal Wedding avoiding break, I looked at the usual places in southern Spain, and found that Ryanair would have charged me just under £160 for a return flight to Alicante (flying out today) from Liverpool. And that doesn’t include checking a bag.

Today I flew with Swiss – and no, I’m not getting paid to type this – from Manchester to Milan Malpensa via Zürich, and the return fare was £168. That includes checking in a bag. You get a snack and drink on board (only a drink between Zürich and Milan, but then, it’s only a 35 minute hop), and the staff are helpful.

The flight arrives at an airport near the city being visited – Malpensa is just over 30 miles from Milan, but there is a rail service that gets you downtown in just under half an hour – as opposed to being near another city: Ryanair fly into Bergamo, which is somewhere to the north east of Milan.

This is the fourth time I’ve flown out via Zürich, and although it can be a bit of a dash to get the connection, it always waits, and the luggage always makes it too. So when you’re looking at destinations like Budapest, Rome, or Vienna, if nothing from the low-cost brigade appeals, check out Opodo, and there may be availability with Swiss via Zürich.

Then you can fly with a real airline.

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