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Are LCCs very different from traditional airlines nowadays?

Geneva, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Geneva, Liechtenstein, Air Travel
posts: 3,953
reviews: 364
Are LCCs very different from traditional airlines nowadays?

Actually can we still speak about LCCs? Or are we seing a merge between the two types of airlines? Probably. Many LCCs (SWA and Easyjet notably) are now adding extras to try to attract business travellers while more and more traditional airlines are offering dry airfares (such as the "Geneva Light" Swiss is offering to compete with Easyjet - https://www.swiss.com/ch/EN/customer-support/faq-help/geneva-economy-light-flex).

What remains then is the airport choice (provided the traveller double check since often the offer is misleading). A couple of exemples:

- Ryanair flying to Beauvais, about 100km and 90 minutes without trafic North or Paris

- Air Asia offering flights to Koh Samui that actually land in Surat Thani before bus plus boat to get at final destination).

Did I miss something?

6 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
posts: 19,402
reviews: 58
1. Re: Are LCCs very different from traditional airlines nowadays?

I do agree that the gap between traditional full service carriers, and some supposed LCC is decreasing.

LCC operations in Australia is still tiny compared to other regions around the world, and due to the smaller number of competitors, LCC structures evolve and change very quickly.

Tiger Airways is an example of this in Australia. Launching in 2007, they had initially planned only to service regional airports and lesser costing major city airports (Avalon vs Tullamarine in Melbourne), but soon their costs were blowing out, they had CASA investigate safety issues, and eventually closed down operational bases in Adelaide and Avalon. Upon recommencement, Melbourne Airport announced a reduction in fees to allow more services from Tullamarine, which enabled a Tiger to recommence a base using Melbourne's main airport.

Tiger are very much LCC, unlike Virgin and Jetstar who had both started off as LCC, but have moved on to a service that includes greater add ons for those wishing for something further.

More recently, we've seen the inclusion of Air Asia and FlyScoot join the carriers operating to and from Australia.

Edited: 1:56 pm, July 30, 2014
Phoenix, AZ
posts: 13,104
reviews: 187
2. Re: Are LCCs very different from traditional airlines nowadays?

Well, some of the carriers, which started as LCC's have evolved into sort of a hybrid. I do not consider SWA to be a LCC any longer, but fully mainstream, but with some unique attributes.

However, in many areas, others have started up, to fill the void, such as Spirit and the re-birth of Frontier Airlines.

Just my observations,

Hunt

Phoenix, AZ
posts: 13,104
reviews: 187
3. Re: Are LCCs very different from traditional airlines nowadays?

SwissDiver,

Also, I advise pax to research the airline, and all costs, before buying the tickets.

As an example, one might compare ticket prices for RT from IAD to MSY, between UA and Spirit (NK, IIRC). I would guess that NK would come in cheaper - BUT if the pax wants any extras, such as seat selection, luggage, etc., those extras may well put the ticket into the realm of the one from UA? One needs to decide what exactly the fare includes, beyond transport between Point A & Point B, and whether they want, or need something beyond.

As an example, some years ago, friends talked us into flying HA to HNL, and we bought FC tickets. They were, as the friends said, a bit less expensive, than the normal tickets we buy on UA, but then I had missed something. Though we were FF members with HA, our status was a good bit lower than our 1K on UA. When we got through paying for the same bags that we take on UA, the HA tickets were slightly MORE expensive. I had broken my own rule, by not doing the math. Now, the HA flights were very nice, but no more so, than similar on UA, and as we only do HNL about twice per year, felt those miles were better used on UA, to maintain both at 1K.

Thanks for starting this thread,

Hunt

Doylestown...
posts: 1,520
reviews: 285
4. Re: Are LCCs very different from traditional airlines nowadays?

I think that the only time you notice a difference these days is when you have a high level frequent flyer status. My One World status generally allows me to select seats at no cost at time of booking, an opportunity to select extra legroom seats at no extra cost if available, up to 3 pieces of luggage free of charge, priority check-in and priority boarding, which means I get my carry-on luggage safely stowed in the overhead bin before the majority of passengers board. But once I am in the seat in economy class, I could be on any airline - it is a seat with between 28-31 inches to the seat in front with or without friendly service.

Phoenix, AZ
posts: 13,104
reviews: 187
5. Re: Are LCCs very different from traditional airlines nowadays?

Mutiny,

I think that you have stated it quite well - after one gets past status amenities (Oh, I do love being 1K on UA and Gold on Star Alliance), it's otherwise about the same product.

With the rush to reconfigure with the "slim-line" seats in domestic mid-haul planes, UA is getting closer and closer to that generic mid-point of mediocrity. At least there is still minimal recline.

Hunt

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
posts: 12,459
reviews: 181
6. Re: Are LCCs very different from traditional airlines nowadays?

Just a couple extra points - especially since this is the Business Travel forum and not Air Travel. Many businesses still control - either through travel guidelines or corporate travel agents - some of what is allowed and not. Our corporate travel agent and my company are wise enough to know one can't strictly look at one fare vs. another - I think we can be within $200. I am also fortunate that UA is my preferred airline and I'm 1K for life. So, I think I get the best of both worlds.

Airport locations for business meetings are also key, too - since many LCC's use alternate airports.

But, I do agree with the initial claim about LCC's upping their services to compete with the traditionals. I also believe the traditionals are focusing more on premium clients (business class) and less on straight coach. So, there is a muddled middle.

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