Low Cost Airline. Low service level?

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010

Low cost airlines are now common place in our society and since there launch, traveling to foreign countries is now possible for the masses.

Easy Jet are considered to be the founders of low cost air travel, starting there operations from London Luton Airport. Over the years, Easy Jet has grown and now flies to many European countries. As Easy Jet grew, more and more airlines jumped on the bandwagon. Ryan Air, BMI Baby and FlyBe to name a few.

Not so long ago, I had cause to travel from the UK to France on a regular basis. As there were low cost airlines operating from my local airport, East Midlands, I decided to sample a flight and flew with BMI Baby. At that time, BMI Baby, the low cost arm of BMI (British Midland International), were flying to Paris CDG. It was a really convenient service and took about 1 hour. The flight I would regularly take, left the UK at 16:00 and would arrive in Paris at 18:00 local time. I can't quite remember how many journeys I made with BMI Baby, but I would hazard a guess at about 12 - 15 times.

When BMI Baby launched there low cost operation from East Midlands, the fares were offered at ridiculous prices. Ridiculous to the point that they were offering seats for nothing! Unfortunately there is the issue of tax, so the flight was not actually free. Never the less, a return flight from the UK to France usually cost somewhere in the region of about £50 - £60, including tax. Seems incredible how they could actually make any money from their flights!

Although the costs were low, I felt that the service levels were quite high. My experience flying with BMI Baby was nearly always great. Although the flight is labeled as a no frills flight, the staff were very courteous and food and drink were always available for the short flights. The punctuality was excellent too!

BMI Baby stopped operating the flight from East Midlands to Paris and was replaced by there parent company BMI. In my experience, as soon as BMI Baby stopped flying and handed over the baton to BMI, which in effect is the same company, the prices escalated. It was very disappointing to lose the service as I had always enjoyed flying with them and found the prices easy on the pocket. I have since found alternative ways to travel from the UK to France, but if BMI Baby decide to come back, I will be tempted to come back too!

For people considering moving to another country as an expat, or simply looking at buying a holiday home abroad, there is no doubt that the low cost airlines have opened the door to another world. Another world which was not imaginable not so long ago. Low cost airlines, low service levels? Not in my experience.

Bon voyage!

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
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