Archive for 2006

Pioneers in European Discount Travel

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

Ryan Air

Ryanair just turned 21, so it’s a good time to recognize their importance to discount travel. If you’re not already familiar with them, they’re the airline that frequently offers flight deals for £1.00 (taxes not included). They’re so crucial to travel that whenever they set up service for a new destination, the property values actually rise their because of the increased accessibility!

Based in Dublin, they carried over 35 million passengers to 100+ European destinations last year, many of which saved some good coin with this no frills carrier. Ryanair isn’t the most elegant, romantic flying experience, but the company boasts that they have the lowest ticket prices, least likelihood to lose luggage, least amount of tardy arrivals/departures and youngest fleet of jets. As of August 2006, they had 107 Boeing 737-800’s with an additional 142 on order to partially replace the current lot and add to it.

Ryanair is sometimes referred to as the Southwest Airlines of Europe – and this is no coincidence. Their CEO, Michael O’ Leary, actually visited the Southwest Airlines Headquarters in the early days to study their business model.

The main component to Ryanair’s profit model is revenue from ancillary activities. They just disclosed that they made £50 million in ancillary revenue in a recent three month period. Services they charge for include, booking with a credit card (£1.75), checking in your suitcase (£7.00), onboard ham sandwich (£4.00) and onboard bottled water (£1.80).

Operating solely in Europe for the last 21 years, they will be venturing outside to the continent of Africa soon, with flights to Morocco.

Pick a Continent for Under $870

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

Who said airfares are getting more expensive? As of right now (9/6/06), you can fly round trip to Europe, Asia or South America, from Los Angeles, New York or Chicago for $438 to $869 (after taxes)!

Madrid, Spain
from LAX / Oct 29 – Nov 9 / $718 / American Airlines
from JFK / Oct 6 – Oct 16 / $438 / Air Comet S.A.
from ORD / Nov 2 – Nov 16 / $598 / Continental Airlines

Tokyo, Japan
from LAX / Oct 12 – Nov 2 / $763 / American Airlines
from JFK / Sep 27 – Oct 4 / $869 / American Airlines
from ORD / Sep 13 – Sep 18 / $820 / Japan Airlines

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
from LAX /Nov 18 – Nov 26 / $724 / COPA Panama
from JFK / Oct 11 – Oct 18 / $794 / Delta Airlines
from ORD / Oct 27 – Nov 4 / $792 / Delta Airlines

Very reasonable fares in my opinion.

Christ the Redeemer - Rio De Janeiro

Be Unafraid to Book on Separate Airlines

Saturday, September 2nd, 2006

Downtown Budapest

I recently needed to book a R/T ticket from Budapest to Phoenix. The best deals I found were with KLM/NWA for $850, but that still seemed a little high. Some more thought needed to be put into this. So I decided to dissect and run a search for each leg of the itinerary and see what it turned up. It showed that Budapest to Los Angeles was only $650 – meaning that the Los Angeles to Phoenix leg was responsible for $200 of the $850 fare!

Knowing that Southwest Airlines typically charges $100 R/T from Los Angeles to Phoenix, I just went ahead and booked the KLM/NWA BUD-LAX fare for $650. I then booked LAX-BUD for $100 on Southwest. All told, this saved me about $100 and the need to fly domestically on NWA, which has a tendency to mix stop in Memphis or Minneapolis in many of their itineraries.

When flying separate airlines just remember to leave plenty of time between flights, and if you’re checking in baggage, confirm that the airlines will transfer them to the other airline for you.

Unfortunately, for me, much of my savings went to the taxi toll to get to Ferihegy Airport.

The RyanAir Equivalent in Asia

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006

Through my travels I’ve learned that Ryanair and EasyJet are the cheapest for flying within Europe – just as Southwest and JetBlue are for the United States.

But, what about Asia? If I wanted to hop around to Hong Kong, Beijing, Bangkok, Shanghai and Tokyo, what are the good, low-cost airlines for that? I asked around and the overall consensus was AirAsia.

I ran a query on AirAsia for Bangkok to Singapore (r/t) in mid-October and they wanted just $135 after taxes, not bad. As it turns out, AirAsia, based in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Jakarta, has the largest fleet of aircraft serving Southeast Asia and China. They’re also the Official Low Fare Airline of Manchester United – I wonder how much that licensing deal was!

Other airlines mentioned and worth considering are…
Tiger Airways
Lion Air

Here’s a good list of all the budget airlines that serve Asia.

Air Asia

Introduction: Fresh Airfare

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

I’m a compulsive, carpal tunnel ridden, airfare searcher who’s constantly in search of that perfect deal. I employee several tricks and techniques to accomplish this, including being subscribed to tons of newsletters.

I find a ton of deals, and partake in some too. Not to brag, but here’s a sampling…

Round-Trip deals we found for you…
$209: Las Vegas to Madrid – Delta (discovered in August 2009)
$296: New York to Dublin – Delta (February 2009)
$511: Los Angeles to Sao Paulo – Korean Air (June 2009)
$532: San Francisco to Manila – Northwest (May 2009)
$617: Los Angeles to Sydney – V Australia (April 2009)

Round-Trip deals I purchased (because I couldn’t resist)…
$299: LAX to Barcelona – Delta (purchased in August 2009)
$375: LAX to London – British Airways (January 2004)
$490: LAX to Dublin – Aer Lingus (July 2007)
$590: LAX to Tokyo – Singapore Airlines (April 2009)
$675: LAX to Bangkok – Air China (July 2006)

Come aboard to my blog. My disorder is your good fortune. I’ve been closely following the discount air travel market ever since I started this site in 2002. I’ll be using this blog to pass along my thoughts, experiences and the deals that I find along the way.

Additionally, Fresh Airfare has frequent contributors including active commercial pilots, ex-stewardesses, travel writers and deal hunters.

Welcome and please subscribe to Fresh Airfare!