An AirlineRatings.com survey has found that travel in Australia on so-called low-cost airlines can be up to 30 percent more expensive than full-service airlines.
The survey found that once luggage, food, drinks and seat selection were added to the low-cost airlines base fare the total exceeded the standard fare of the full-service airline.
Conducted on Wednesday, June 13, for the Perth to Sydney and Melbourne to Sydney routes for a range of three dates, the survey found low-cost airlines Jetstar and Tigerair were almost always more expensive than a Qantas or Virgin Australia one-way fares after the necessary extras were added.
For travel on Wednesday, June 20, Qantas is charging $236 for a one-way ticket from Perth to Sydney. However, Qantas’ low-cost subsidiary Jetstar’s cheapest fare is $199 before the extras.
To match the Qantas total offering, the airline charges $40 for a combination of checked bag and a meal and non-alcoholic beverage.
Cost of alcoholic drinks varies but two beers or wines will set you back $18 and to seat select for more legroom cost $25.
Total cost $282 – 19 percent more than its parent Qantas.
For the short Melbourne to Sydney route on the same date, Qantas is charging $89, whereas Jetstar’s cheapest fare is $$66.
But add baggage, meal and a drink and the cost soars to $115, or 30 percent more expensive.
The survey assumed that on a short-haul sector extra legroom was not as critical and only one drink could be consumed so those costs were not either not included or adjusted downwards.
Previously Choice Magazine warned air travelers to compare the total cost when buying a flight after its survey found that “low-cost” airlines had similar fares or were more expensive than traditional carriers.
“Always compare the total cost of the flights and not the headline cost,” a Choice spokeswoman said.
The consumer magazine warned that “passengers get drawn into the booking process without realizing the total cost.”
“It gets very confusing for travelers and before they realize it, they have accidentally selected and paid for options they will not use.”
The survey result mirrors the finding of the last survey down by AirlineRatingsin 2016 where Jetstar was 25 percent more expensive than Qantas for a Perth to Melbourne flight once extras were added.
AirlineRatings.com will publish three more airfare surveys over the next week covering the USA, Europe, and Asia.