Rugby World Cup fever triggers record £1,000 ($2000) LCC fare

Logo: BmiBabyImage: BMIbaby website screenshotThe unexpected possibility of England retaining the Rugby World Cup this weekend resulted in a wave of national euphoria and a surge in demand for travel to Paris to witness the event. Airlines took advantage of this by increasing fares on the limited number of remaining available seats. tracked fares on easyJet and flybe during the week leading up to the final but in the end it was bmibaby who came up with possibly the first £1,000 return fare on a European low-cost airline, for customers living in the East Midlands airport catchment area.

Bmibaby, whose slogan is “the airline with tiny fares” redefined the meaning of the word ‘tiny’ by offering the final seat on its Saturday morning outbound flight at just over £600 with a return fare on the Monday of just over £400. With additional taxes and charges the total fare came to a whopping £1,038.88. This includes the £5 per sector saving by booking on the web rather than via the call centre.

Image: website screenshoteasyJet’s £800 return fare

For much of the week it seemed as though easyJet would be the most expensive ‘low-cost’ option as a return service from Luton was available for £803.12 ($1600) although that did not include any baggage charges or the additional charged-for benefits of Speedy Boarding.

Tracking fares during the last week revealed that the most expensive outbound flights on offer from each of the UK airports where easyJet offers flights to Paris were:

London Luton £405
Bristol £291
Liverpool £238
Newcastle £178
Edinburgh £178
Belfast £119

Given that it was England that made the final the lower fares from Scotland (Edinburgh) and Northern Ireland (Belfast) are maybe no surprise.

Flybe upgrade aircraft for key flights

Image: Fly with FlybeFlybe also serves Paris from a number of UK regional airports. It was able to respond to England’s unexpected success by increasing aircraft size on a number of its flights. According to the airline this added ‘almost one thousand additional seats to Paris’.

Most of the weekend Paris flights were originally planned as ERJ145 operations. Many were then upgraded to either E195, 146 or Q400 operations. The most expensive one-way (outbound) fares that were seen during the last week at each airport were:

Manchester £290
Birmingham £269
Edinburgh £255
Southampton £230
Cardiff £197
Exeter £197
Norwich £172

Sadly, in the event, England were beaten 15-6 by a superior South African side.


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