What is the cheapest international airline

That's why Eurowings, Wizz Air and other low-cost airlines are so cheap

When comparing flight prices you have surely been amazed at the one or the other time at the prices and asked yourself why these differ so much between the various airlines. For example, you pay around 100 euros more for a flight from Frankfurt Airport to Lisbon with Lufthansa than with Ryanair - and you even have to change trains in Munich and thus travel twice as long!

Why are the tickets with low-cost airlines such as Ryanair, Eurowings, Wizz Air and Co so much cheaper than with regular airlines? We show where the low cost carriers save in order to keep ticket prices as low as possible and explain how they still earn their money.

Why are budget airlines so cheap?

1) The ticket price only includes transport

Low-cost airlines concentrate on the core service of a flight, namely transport from A to B, and at the lowest possible price. The ticket price therefore only includes the pure transportation of the passenger. Additional services such as meals, seat reservations, luggage and other extras are not included in the price. This is why the ticket price initially displayed seems so much cheaper than at Lufthansa and Co, which often include such services.

2) Only direct connections and no connecting flights

So-called network carriers have national and international hubs. At Lufthansa, for example, these are Frankfurt am Main and Munich, where passengers transfer and can thus reach any international destination on the map with a connecting flight. Low cost carriers, on the other hand, serve numerous “home bases”, each of which usually has fewer than five aircraft. They concentrate on direct connections, which are also more popular among travelers. The advantage for the airline: There are no connecting flights and transfer connections to be coordinated. There is also no need to check baggage. In this way, the floor times (turn around) can be minimized and a lot of money can be saved. In addition, travel costs for staff and unproductive service time (travel time) for employees can be avoided. The flights of the low-cost airlines are therefore limited in most cases to short and medium-haul routes.

⇒ Are you traveling with a connecting flight? You should definitely pay attention to this!

3) Use of regional airports

In order to keep ticket prices as low as possible, low cost carriers use decentralized “secondary airports” or small to medium-sized regional airports. These charge lower taxes and are also less busy, which enables faster passenger and aircraft handling and thus increases the frequency and productivity of the machines and personnel. In order to make the provincial airports sound central and international nonetheless, the low-cost airlines often advertise the “nearby” major cities that are actually far away from the airport. Examples are Düsseldorf-Weeze (89 kilometers from Düsseldorf) or Oslo-Torp (120 kilometers from Oslo).

4) Outside position of the aircraft when boarding

Not only the choice of airports, but also the position of the aircraft when boarding is a cost factor. Anyone who has already flown with Lufthansa has certainly been able to get on the plane comfortably over the passenger boarding bridge. However, this convenience costs the airline a lot of money. Cheap airlines save the parking positions directly at the airport building and move their machines to the outer positionsto which the passengers are then taken by bus.

5) Uniform fleet with few aircraft types

With regular airlines, different machines are used, depending on the duration and route of the flight. To do this, the pilots need a different license for each type of aircraft. Here too, low-cost carriers save money: Ryanair only uses Boeing 737-800s, the easyJet fleet consists of just two different types of aircraft. That brings Savings in training and further education costs for the pilots as well as lower maintenance and repair costs for the aircraft. But it also makes the entire flight and personnel planning process much easier. On board the machines themselves, savings are made through the structure and equipment: A high seat density with small seat spacing and fewer washrooms makes it possible to carry even more passengers - and thus earn more!

⇒ Read also: These are the hang luggage regulations of the low-cost airlines

6) Strict personnel policy and low wages

The low-cost airlines try with a minimum of staff, which of course still meet the safety requirements, to extend the working hours to the maximum that is just allowed. The significantly lower salaries for the staff have already come under public criticism several times. In the summer of 2018, the pilots and some Ryanair crew employees went on strike because of the low wages, which resulted in enormous flight delays and cancellations.

For comparison: while the starting salary of a co-pilot at Ryanair is just around 40,000 gross per year, his Lufthansa colleague earns around 70,000 per year. There are also clear differences within the Lufthansa Group: At the subsidiary Eurowings, which offers cheap tickets, flight captains earn 78,000 euros at the beginning and reach a basic salary of 102,000 euros after ten years. At Lufthansa, on the other hand, this range extends from 136,000 to 189,000 euros after ten years.

Now we know why the low-cost airlines are so cheap and why the ticket prices are so low. Of course, you also ask yourself whether low-cost airlines make a profit at all. We are also addressing this question to the bottom!


How do low-cost airlines make their money despite cheap tickets?

The low cost carriers do not earn on the flight itself, but on the ancillary services, the so-called "Ancillary Revenues ”. As mentioned at the beginning, the ticket price with the low-cost airlines only includes the pure transport of passengers. Additional servicessuch as on-board service, seat reservation, luggage, or travel cancellation insurance, online check-in or entertainment on board must be paid for by the passengers.

The share of ancillary revenues in total income is over 40 percent for some low-cost airlines. In addition to this concept of breaking down the “air travel” service package into its individual parts, the airlines are also using a few sales channels no commission to travel agencies or ticket providers to have to pay. Thanks to the initially low base prices, the customer should be guided directly to the airline's booking portal using price comparison sites. This prevents a further and possibly more detailed comparison. In addition to “flying”, other profitable businesses are also pursued, such as placing advertisements on one's own homepage. By the Recommend hotels or car rental companies an additional commission is earned.

Flight delay or flight cancellation with a low-cost airline

Basically, passengers have a flight delay of at least 3 hours or a right to compensation in the event of flight cancellation. The ticket price is irrelevant, because the amount of the compensation depends solely on the flight distance and can be up to 600 euros per person.

But here too, the low-cost airlines are trying to save money - at the expense of the passengers! Unfortunately, we as passenger assistants often find that the airlines are doing something to avoid having to pay compensation and also to reject legitimate claims - or try to ignore the claim. We specialize in actually enforcing compensation for delayed flights from low-cost airlines such as Ryanair, Eurowings and Co. If you have had a flight delay or flight cancellation in the last 3 years, you can easily use our free compensation calculator to see how much you are entitled to:



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