If you wanted, for example, to travel from London to Bratislava (one way) today and you choose not to fly steerage you could travel with British Airway via Vienna, granted you would need to avail of the bus that runs hourly from Vienna Airport to the heart of Bratislava. The bus will cost you just under €10 , this includes paying for your suitcase ( unless you have carry on luggage) and your passage, sound familiar? British Airways will take £262.30 (€294.22) for a single Economy Class or Euro Saver flight alternatively fly Business class and pay €831.95.
If you are coming from Dublin you might choose Aerlingus to Vienna they will ask you for €173.88 for a one way ticket.
The alternative is, the airline people love to hate, Ryanair, who will ask for €128.58 including a 20 kilo baggage allowance from stanstead to Bratislava saving you over €160.00 and the bus fare, but a staggering €271.88 from Dublin to Bratislava costing you almost €100.00. more, less a tenner for the bus of course.
Aer lingus will charge you for drinks and food, whereas British Airways don’t. Aer lingus give more arm and leg room plus reclining seat as long as you do not sit in an exit row as do British Airways. The chances are Ryanair will have a Slovak or Czech crew member on the Bratislava/Vienna service, it’s a bigger gamble if British Airways and Aer lingus will have one.
Booking flights at the last minute is a precarious exercise at the best of times.
Air travel is public transport, nothing more nothing less. Many people still think its exotic, but it’s not. I am sure a person’s first time on a bus or tram is exotic also. People take trains where as it is often cheaper to fly, but do they expect to be waited on hand and foot on a train unless it is a first class ticket or the Orient Express, people see this form of transport as basic and do not expect frills, you lug your own luggage too. Trains are not as dependent on atmospheric conditions and might be more reliable based on this, or are they in fact more reliable.
Ferries are also seen as basic, but they offer great amenities on board. Many ferries are similar to mini cruises. Anyone who has been stuck in a ferry port waiting for a storm to abate and then waiting after it has for their ferry to arrive and be serviced and reloaded after such an event before it departs, I am sure, would much rather be stuck in Bratislava Airport waiting for the volcanic ash to clear.
Prior to air fares becoming affordable for the normal Joe in the street, people took the coach, train and ferry services, 24 hours on a coach from Slovakia to London, no thanks. I remember in 1988 I took a ferry and train to London, an arduous experience I never hope to repeat, which at the time it cost about £50 or £60. I was a skint Student back then and could not afford an airfare over £200, but today I can fly for less.
On my first trip to Slovakia back in 2002 I paid €665.00 return for my bike, a pillion and a cabin. Today it’s about €430.00. Why? Low cost airlines. The ferry makes a lot more from meals, drinks and shopping etc than an airline as 18 hours is a long time, even if you do sleep for 8 of those.
Taking the bike to Slovakia was a great trip, I toured from Cherbourg, through Fance, across Germany and the Czech Republic, B.A to Dukla and back home through Poland, Germany, Belgium and France. I know many Slovaks who have done this trip with 5 people in a car to save money, but using € 300 of fuel + meals + ferry etc, each way, where the only benefit is having a car at your disposal when you reach your destination.
So why do people moan? They moan because they can, they do not want to pay premium prices for premium services, they want to pay for the minimum but receive the optimum. It’s human nature I guess. Take a Lada and put a BMW badge on it, maybe some fool will buy it.
People really need to see things for what they are. Admittedly, Ryanair, Easyjet and their comrades may not always be the cheapest or the most courteous, but they are the reason why its now cheaper to use many forms of mass public transport. If you do not like it, do not buy it. How many people purchase a new Lada and then moan about it, not very many. In fact, they form clubs and appreciate them for what they are, warts and all.
If you have alternatives, then use them, and don’t moan about a service you choose to avail of, fly British Airways, pay over €850.00 and then moan that the air-hostess’ boobs were not the May West, or that the grub was terrible, and so on.