Need I say Moores

Fare expectations? ​

Social media backlash over a start-up regional airline’s “steep” €79 ($96) launch fares really shows how much customer price expectations have shifted.

Not so long ago, a €79 one-way fare between Ireland and the UK would have been seen as pretty reasonable. But the low ticket prices, made possible by LCC economies of scale, mean €79 is now seen as expensive.

The airline in question is Irish regional Air Southeast, which plans to launch this year. Here are some of the comments posted to the airline’s facebook account:

“Not going to be overly competitive at that price, seeing as you can get a return to Dublin for €25.”

“Won't be flying to Manchester at those prices....€79 return would be more appealing! Can get return from Dublin for €20 and can even get €90 return from Cork.”

“€79 each way a bit steep. We will never have an airport in Waterford - well one that'll stay anyway - with those prices.”

“Just don't go mad with the price of the ticket.”

“Brilliant cannot wait to pay €500 return to London for one person flying.”

Air Southeast argued that LCCs charge cheap fares as a baseline and other costs - like allocated seats, bags and transport costs to a major hub – all add up.

“It's not just about cost. We think the convenience and the time saved when flying from Waterford Airport cannot be overlooked,” the fledgling carrier said. One customer argued that these services aren’t needed on a 30-minute hop and that the extra logistics come in cheaper than the Air Southeast fare.

The difficulty is that regional airlines have a different operating model and cost base to Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 operators, but customers are used to Ryanair fares and have little sympathy for economics.

However, on the plus side, some people still see value in regional point-to-point services. “Not got a problem paying a bit more for the flights, as it's a hell of a lot more convenient than flying into Dublin or Cork,” said a more upbeat facebook user.

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@informa.com

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