easyJet, Lufthansa Italia and Vueling all compete on Milan Malpensa to Barcelona route; how do fares compare?
This week’s announcement that Lufthansa Italia would cease operations highlighted the fact that on many of its routes from its Milan Malpensa base it faced direct competition from easyJet. On the popular Barcelona route another low-cost carrier, Vueling, also provides stiff competition.
For this week’s fare analysis, one-way fares were collected on 24 May for flights departing between 25 May and 19 June for all three airlines. All three airlines operate multiple daily flights so only the cheapest fare was used for each day of departure. Fares were collected for flights in both directions.
The fares shown in the graphs below are the cheapest possible all-inclusive fares. However, depending on payment option, baggage requirements and seating preference the one-way fares for easyJet and Vueling can be considerably higher. These additional fees are summarised at the end of this article.
Across the 26 days, easyJet’s lowest daily fare on Milan – Barcelona comes out around €2 cheaper on average than Vueling’s lowest daily fare (€47 versus €49) with Lufthansa Italia charging almost twice as much with an average lowest fare of €96. The peak around 2 June corresponds with an Italian national holiday, thus encouraging people to take the following day off and have a ‘long weekend’.
On the Barcelona – Milan segment, easyJet and Vueling’s average lowest fares are almost identical at just under €51, while Lufthansa Italia’s are more than double at €120, not helped by their €491 fare on Sunday 5 June. This is also the day when easyJet and Vueling’s fares are at their peak as Italian’s make their way home from their long weekend in Barcelona.
Vueling’s four different levels of assigned seating ‘service’
The fares illustrated in the above graphs are the cheapest achievable, but in the case of easyJet and Vueling require passengers to have no hold baggage and to pay by means that not many people do. The table below summarises the additional costs of booking the one-way flights with easyJet and Vueling dependent on payment option and seating preference.
|Payment fees||Visa Electron – free
Visa Debit Card – €10
Credit card – €16
|Visa Vueling – free
Visa Electron / Debit Card – €5.50
MasterCard debit card – €5.50
Visa/MasterCard credit card – €9.50
PayPal – €9.50
American Express – €12.00
Diners Card – €12.00
|Baggage||€11 per bag (if no more than 20kg)
Heavier bags cost more. A 32kg single bag would cost €119.
|€11 per bag.|
|Seating||Speedy Boarding – €12.75||Assigned:
Basic (almost anywhere) – €3
Optimum (first few rows) – €5
XL (extra legroom) – €13
Duo (next to empty seat) – €30
|Source: airline websites|
Lufthansa Italia has free assigned seating, allows one free bag, but charges an additional €5 if payment is made by any method other than PayPal. It is also worth remembering that neither easyJet nor Vueling offers any free food or drink during the flights, while Lufthansa Italia does.
Of course, that €491 fare on Sunday 5th June may have arisen because all other available seats had been purchased, leaving only this expensive fare behind…viz. that airline having higher load factors.
Then again, they could have just used poor revenue management.
And let’s not forget also the competition Ryanair does on the GRO-BGY route, where it has several frequencies a day and it can be an interesting alternative for people traveling between Barcelona and Milan metro areas (although and imperfect substitute if you are going to the city centre)