The Ryanair Drama – is it better to avoid budget airlines?

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We have all heard about the recent chaos at airports due to Ryanair cancelling many of their flights. Thousands of passengers were left stranded, unable to reach their destinations as planned. While Ryanair claims to have compensated most of the affected passengers, there is no escaping the disruption that has already been caused. So despite the good deals budget airlines seem to provide, is it really worth spending less on your flights? 
 
Last month, Ryanair began to cancel up to 50 of its flights per day. The airline said this was due to it “messing up” pilots’ holidays. Flight cancellations began on the 21st of September and included flights from the UK to Luxembourg, Berlin and Bordeaux. Ryanair has since released a statement saying that 98% of affected passengers had received a refund, or been re-accommodated, while the remaining 2% had not been in contact regarding their flights.  
 
For sceptics of the whole idea of budget airlines, this drama will have reinforced the idea that these airlines should be avoided altogether. Passengers may spend less on flights by travelling with them, but at what cost? For example, there are additional costs should you wish to take luggage as well as an on-board bag. And with the general negative reputation that budget airlines appear to have gained, especially with the most recent upheaval, many would argue that it is ‘safer’ to seek alternative travel arrangements.  
 
However, the Ryanair disruption has not caused the airline as much damage as might have been expected. September of this year saw a 10% rise in the number of Ryanair passengers compared to the same month of last year. A total of 11.8 million people opted to fly with Ryanair last month. But to what extent was that figure due to increasing levels of trust in the airline? And will the damage, if there is any, be seen in figures for the next few months? 
 
With Ryanair’s recent cancellations, and subsequent disruption, it may be difficult to tell how the company may be affected in the long term. Some may want to save money on their flights and run the risk of arriving late at their destinations, if at all. Many others, however, are willing to pay more money on airline with a better reputation in the hope that they will arrive at their destinations on time. So in terms of whether or not it is, in fact, better to avoid budget airlines, it really does depend on the needs and wants of individual consumers. 

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