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The Future of Airlines: Cheaper Tickets, Fewer Frills?

October 24, 2009 at 2:01 PM | by | ()

While low-budget airlines have long since come to dominate most popular short-haul routes, legacy carriers have managed to stay afloat thanks to long-distance flights, which magnify the importance of their enhanced services and amenities. According to The New York Times, however, that's starting to change as the economic downturn creates new opportunities for no-frills upstarts.

Throughout the world, new low-cost airlines are snarfing up long-distance routes that were formerly dominated by the majors. Norwegian carrier Feel Air, for example, will take a swipe at SAS and others with service between Oslo and Stockholm and JFK Airport in New York next year. (Their motto says it all: "Long distance, low cost - FEELgood flying.") Iceland Express, meanwhile, will begin service between Newark and Reykjavik with connections to cities across Western Europe, putting pressure on larger rival Iceland Air to slash prices on similar routes. And tiny airlines across Asia have already jumped into the long-distance game, with carriers like Air Asia X linking major cities and continents with bare bones flights for a song.

Where this all ends I have no idea. Some posit that once the economy bounces back, business travelers will be more willing to shell out big bucks for the higher level of service of the majors. But the rest of us will quickly become addicted to the cheap flights, suffering the indignities associated with them in exchange for savings that border on the ridiculous. After all, a flight in a jet airplane is still an amazing thing. Should it really only cost ten bucks?

[Photo: nomad4ever.com]

Related Stories:
· Downturn Opens Doors for Low-Cost Airlines [The New York Times]
· Feel Air [Official Site]
· Budget Airlines [Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

So true!

I just flew Ryanair for the first time during my last trip. It's certainly adventure, and requires a fair amount of tactical skill. But still, a 5 Euro flight? I'm in! Definitely think it's the way of the future. Here's what I learned: http://lonelygirltravels.com/2009/10/26/flyin-with-ryan/