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Aer Lingus vs Ryanair

I’m currently getting ready to present at DDD South West in Bristol on June 11th. In addition to the normal work of creating sample code and slides, I also have to figure out flights and a hotel.

In the past I’ve tried to avoid Ryanair. There was a time when it was actually worth paying a little more to fly with Aer Lingus. That’s no longer the case.

I don’t know if it’s the 25% stake that Ryanair owns, or just an inevitable progression in the airline industry, but I can no longer see any difference between Ryanair and Aer Lingus.

That’s not true. There is one difference. The price. Aer Lingus seems to be embracing everything about the Ryanair business model, except the price.

Let’s look at an example.

I’ve just booked return flights to Bristol with Ryanair, flying from Dublin at 21:15 on the 10th of June, returning at 10:55 on the 12th.

The headline cost of the flights were €3.99 each way. Ryanair add a Web Check-in fee of €6 each way, giving a total of €19.98

On Aer Lingus, the cheapest outward flight is €4.99, but it leaves at 6:25 on Friday morning. Of course that would mean missing a day of work and being at the airport at an ungodly hour. There’s an 18:45 flight for €14.99.

But let’s take that €4.99 flight, it makes the comparison more interesting. That’s €1 more than the Ryanair flight. There’s a €4.99 return flight on Sunday, also at a stupidly early time. How does this extra €2 pan out if we proceed to try and book the flight?

As I mentioned, with Ryanair we add a further €12 euro for a total cost of €19.98. You’d imagine the extra fees would be pretty similar for Aer Lingus right? They are departing from and arriving into the same airports after all.

I was stunned to find that Aer Lingus charge €19.99 EACH WAY in “Taxes and Charges”.

Think about that. The Taxes and Charges EACH WAY on an Air Lingus flight cost more than the entire cost of a round-trip ticket with Ryanair.

What are these Taxes? What are these Charges? Why don’t they apply to passengers flying with Ryanair?

And we haven’t even gotten to the extra fees for credit card booking etc.

One of the things that annoy people most about “Low Fares” airlines and indeed other businesses is the extortionate fees for paying by credit card. The online business model allows companies to radically reduce their overheads, but rather than pass on those savings they charge customers for the “convenience”.

With Ryanair and Aer Lingus the fee for paying by card (as if there were another option) is €6 each way, per ticket. Not per transaction…Per Ticket, Per leg of journey. That’s €12 for a return ticket for one person.

Unlike Aer Lingus, Ryanair usually has at least one type of card which allows you to avoid this charge. Annoyingly they keep changing it. I’m in luck this week, I have a prepaid Master Card that I bought at Christmas, and Ryanair allow it to be used without charging the €12 fee.

With Aer Lingus the fee is also €12, but there doesn’t seem to be any way of avoiding it.

So, to sum up.

Ryanair, Headline Ticket Price €3.99 each way. Final Total €19.98
Aer Lingus, Headline Ticket Price €4.99 each way. Final Total €61.96

Some day, very soon Aer Lingus will cease to exist. I don’t know what it’s final demise will look like, but it will vanish. When that happens there will be much hand wringing and questioning about how such a thing could happen.

The answer is simple and we’ve known it for a long time. Aer Lingus is taking the piss.

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