Quality has a price, as low-cost carriers have come to realize. Many of them have not hesitated to raise their prices in order to offer better service to travellers, according to a study conducted by WhichAirline.com.
The website, which allows travellers to find the airline best suited to their needs through a dedicated search engine, undertook an examination of the fares offered by European low-cost carriers between 2013 and 2014. Unsurprisingly, the results revealed an upward overall trend.
EasyJet took the prize for the most significant increase over the one-year period, adding almost â‚¬15 to the price of each leg of a flight. On average this year, a one-way trip with the British airline costs â‚¬87.44, compared to â‚¬72.97 in 2013.
As WhichAirline.com points out, however, this price hike came alongside a few upgrades in terms of customer service. In particular, easyJet began catering more to business travellers with services like priority boarding, free ticket exchanges and an extra checked baggage item at no extra cost.
EasyJet's arch rival Ryanair also raised its prices, although less dramatically. Passengers are paying â‚¬65.67 on average this year compared to â‚¬58.45 in 2013, indicating a slight increase of just over â‚¬7 per flight.
The company headed by the controversial Michael O'Leary also has plans of winning over more business travelers in the future, but for the time being its focus is on families. From this summer, Ryanair passengers travelling with children have been able to enjoy special discounts as well as in-flight changing tables and bottle warmers. (It's worth noting that easyJet launched its own family-friendly program around the same time).
Among the other notable price hikes seen this year, WhichAirline.com cites the example of Wizz Air, which increased fares by â‚¬10 on average without revising the quality of its services. Operating out of the Paris-Beauvais airport, the discount airline services several cities in Eastern Europe.
A different study, carried out by the price comparison website Liligo.com and released in July, revealed that low-cost airlines are not always the cheapest option when compared to conventional carriers, particularly for domestic flights. The explanation lies in related charges and fees often tacked on for additional luggage or other extras, which can quickly add up.