RYANAIR might brand itself as a low-cost carrier but the Irish airline has emerged as the most expensive when it comes to the cost of in-flight food and drink.
A new survey reveals the no-frills airline charges more than most of its other main Irish and British rivals for a range of on-board snacks.
The study by British-based travel cost comparison site Nowfly found Ryanair was the most expensive in every category of food and drink except spirits, which are not available on Ryanair flights.
It claims the Irish airline charges up to 35% more for beverages, 30% more for sandwiches and 50% more for a small bottle of wine than its competitors.
The survey shows that hot drinks and light snacks are still complimentary on most British Airways flights, although the airline has recently announced that it is to stop providing meals on flights lasting less than 2½ hours.
However, most other airlines including Aer Lingus, Bmi, EasyJet, Flybe and Monarch all charge for similar items.
A bag of peanuts ranges from £1 (€1.10) on both Bmi and Monarch to £1.80 with Ryanair. A 330ml can of beer costs £4.05 on a Ryanair flight but £3 with Flybe and £3.50 with Aer Lingus.
Ryanair charges £1.60 for a 150ml can of Pepsi, while both Bmi and Flybe charge just £1.50 for a larger 250ml can.
A cup of tea or coffee on board Ryanair is £2.70 but a mere £1.80 on a Bmi flight and £2 with Aer Lingus.
A 500ml bottle of water is £2.70 on Ryanair but the same bottle is just £1.50 with Aer Lingus. A 187ml bottle of wine is £3.50 on Aer Lingus flights but £5.35 with Ryanair.
A Ryanair spokesperson defended the high charges for its in-flight services on the basis that the cost of the airline’s average fares was cheaper than its rivals.
“With Ryanair’s average fare being 80% to 600% cheaper than those of other airlines, I think passengers will happily pay a little more for an avoidable, superior quality, cheese and pickle sandwich,” said the spokesperson.
A separate report also recently highlighted how Ryanair earned almost €610m last year in ancillary revenue from Ryanair’s range of baggage charges, check-in fees, in-flight food and drink, as well as commission from hotel reservations, car hire and travel insurance.
It’s estimated that such revenue accounts for 20% of all Ryanair’s earnings — one of the highest proportions of ancillary income earned by any airline.
The growing trend of airlines imposing additional charges is currently being examined by the National Consumer Agency and the European Commission, which have becoming concerned at how extra charges can more than treble the original quoted price of a flight.
In Ryanair’s case they include up to €40 for an item of sports equipment, a €5 handling fee for each one-way flight and a €20 infant fee for children aged under two.
Ryanair also recently announced that it plans to increase its baggage fees by 50% from October 1.
It was recently highlighted that it has been charging its passengers at Dublin Airport more than 50% above the official rate for a wheelchair levy that is included in the price of all tickets.
Further details of the in-flight cost survey can be found at www.nowfly.co.uk.
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