In Praise of the Easyjetset

A lot of ink had been wasted on those things called low-cost airlines lately.

For some they are flying buses à la Laker Airlines, for others they are flying zoos, but one thing is sure that these low-cost airlines have changed the industry. There are limits of course of what the industry could achieve, and it’s a fact that many actors had not survived this complex and ruthless industry.

Of course, there is a big difference of philosophy and vision between those who consider commercial air travel as flying hotels or flying buses. No doubt that customers still want the former for long haul flights but for a flight lasting for a few hours, having  »no frills » could do the job very well.

As much had flying low-cost have downsides (very few services, a pay-what-you-get-for-attitude, sometimes badly located airports) it also have massive upsides as it had made European travel much easier and accessible to many just like the third-class train made seaside resorts accessible to the Average Joe for their vacations in the last century.

So, was it really better yesterday when air travel was reserved for the elite (the 1% if you want) with prices (even without considering inflation) which were even higher than today? I don’t think so.

To give you an example, 20 years ago, a place like Estonia was in the USSR, it was seen as far away and somewhat exotic and you usually had to take Aeroflot to get there and pass through Moscow. Now, 20 years later, you reserve your ticket online, you go at Stanstead or Gatwick airport and bam you are in Estonia for a fraction of the cost and the time a few years ago. And you have not reserved your hotel yet? Some  »low-cost » airlines even now got free wi-fi.

So, except of seeing the people behind companies like Ryanair and Easy Jet as monsters, could we see them as benefactors for the less fortunate, people who made travelling to the four corners of the continent easy, fast and even if not very comfortable, enjoyable because you can fly to places which are interesting this while being able to not spend a fortune on transportation.

Instead of seeing air travel as a way for the state to tax more, could the state for once tax less air travel which is a very taxed industry for the customer? Is it too much to ask for the customer just to not have a tax bill which is higher than the airline fare?

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