On a wing and a prayer - how budget airlines fly for less

It's the question that consumes the mind of Sky Marshall O'Leary every waking moment of the day; how can Ryanair squeeze a few more pence out the cost of flying? There are rumours that O'Leary has already bought Michael Jackson's oxygen chamber to enhance his frugal thinking neurons. It's a worthwhile investment, if true, because for every penny per passenger per flight that the airline can shave off the cost of operations, Ryanair save over half a million quid a year.

So how do budget carriers do it? Metro have created a chart to show you exactly where the savings come from (click on the link to see this full size):

The biggest savings come simply from packing passengers in like sardines; a budget airline rams 20 more seats into the same space, compared to a full-price carrier. As we know (and as the illustration explains) airline operators rely on a combination of factors to deliver low-cost air travel, which is why the Sky Marshall wouldn't hesitate to ask passengers to remove their limbs if he could get away with it.


  • The B.
    1 employee per 9679 passengers??? Whta happens if they have a bout of flu? Do they just cancel all flights?
  • andy y.
    Bitterwallet were you abused as a child by ryanair? They sell cheap flights for a profit by cutting costs left right and centre.So fucking what.What do you want them to do charge £500 for a flight then ask the staff to work for free ..I,m looking at you British Aiirways
  • Nobby
    We all know ryanair / easyjet are cheaper as they cut out services (meals, seat allocation, etc), squeeze you into a smaller space, have quick turnaround due to not cleaning aircraft between flights and often use remote airports. But it is amazing to see that 3rd equal on 6% is agents fees - the same as in-flight catering costs. That seems fairly high to me, especially when you think most cashback sites will only give you 1% of your flight cost.
  • How W.
    [...] the ever enlightening Bitterwallet. SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "How Budget Airlines Cut Costs", url: [...]
  • Alistair
    Who are Aer Lyngus? I dispute some of the information on that document, not because I am a nerd, but because I am in excess of 6 foot tall and don't fit into BA seats any better than Ryanair, if anything it's worse Look at the trouble BA are in to see who has the better business model. For years until the budget airlines came along BA took the absolute pi$$ when charging for flights. I remember paying nearly £500 to fly from Glasgow to London return a price that gets me across the world and back these days.
  • steve
    Another good wheeze they pull is to fly outside controlled airspace and just get their pilots to keep an eye out. Co-pilots are generally trying to get their hours rating on that type of aircraft and are flying for free...

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