The true cost of Ryanair's 10€ transatlantic flights
It's either an urban myth or an established fact that the plastic-molded seating in McDonalds is designed to become arse-numbingly uncomfortable after 10 minutes or so, in order to move people out the "restaurants" as soon as they've chowed down. But what would happen if forced to sit in similarly unsympathetic seating with less legroom, six miles in the air for up to half a day? You may find out soon enough.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary is expected to announce his airline will begin offering transatlantic flights for just 10 Euros. While that sounds like an outrageously generous bargain, just take a moment to consider the conditions you'd endure on such a flight, and the clientèle you'd be sharing the cabin with. A two hour trip to Prague rammed with stag parties and a dozen roaringly drunk fat-mouthed women is grim. Tolerating them for up to 6,000 miles is likely to induce psychosis.
Ryanair has today announced a drop of almost 50% in its half-year profits due to a doubling in fuel costs. Perhaps not entirely understanding that having less money to spend usually means... well, having less money to spend, O'Leary said: "We’ll just have to keep flying more aircraft, opening up more routes and offering people more cheap flights.
“Economy class will be very cheap – around €10. But our business class will be very expensive. There’s always 10-15% who’ll pay whatever it costs for a wide seat."
The transatlantic flights are likely to depart from Stansted and Dublin airports to New York, Florida, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, and begin towards the end of next year.
Sounds like a bargain, doesn't it? Hold that thought. 10€ would be the price of your ticket only; as with all flights, you've got a whole bundle of airport taxes, surcharges and security fees to add to the total cost. For example, a return ticket with Virgin Atlantic from London to New York on November 11th costs just £43 - it's the £236.50 in taxes, fees and surcharges that pushes the price up to £279.50. A similar trip with Delta Airlines is £62.40 but the additional costs mean you'll actually pay £278.60.
So in reality, 10€ for a one way ticket sounds appealing, but availability will be limited and you'll have to book well in advance. You may save £40 or £50, but you won't be able to book last minute and there's that nagging question of just how budget a transatlantic service can or should be.