Last updated: 05:49 PM ET, Sat November 26 2016

What is the Deal with this "Free Air Travel" Situation?

Airlines & Airports | Jessica Kleinschmidt | November 26, 2016

What is the Deal with this "Free Air Travel" Situation?

photo courtesy of boeing 

If you haven't heard of Ryanair, it is now time to educate yourself. The airline offers you low fares around the world for as little as $9.88. That wasn't a typo either. CEO Michael O’Leary recently said during the Airport Operators Association conference he had just about had it with air travel pricing.

“I’ve got far better things to do than to talk to a bunch of overcharging airports.”

He also mentions his future endeavors that would cost as little as nothing at all.

“I have this vision that in the next five to 10 years fares on Ryanair will be free; in which case the flights will be full, and we will be making our money out of sharing the airport revenues of all the people who will be running through airports, and getting a share of the shopping and the retail revenues.”

According to The Guardian, the revenue from the various shopping spots and dining experiences are built around the lucrative Lancome and Estee Lauder stores and "Pret a Manger in Britain for the last decent sandwich before the airline trolley" which is known as the "third-most-lucrative" that is visited by millions. 

A 10-year deal was signed with Ryanair after acquiring the Stansted, Manchester Airports Group for £1.5bn in 2013. According the article in The Guardian: in "return for more passengers, Ryanair got lower charges. Alongside, the airport gave the terminal an £80m transformation, adding 50% more space in the departure lounge. And the airline loosened up its notoriously tight policy on carry-on bags to allow people to bring their shopping aboard."

But --- free doesn't necessarily mean free.

Bags (which isn't much of a surprise), seating, priority boarding and certain forms of payment will be considered costly extras. However, it's nice to know there are people like O'Leary out there who genuinely want to have people fly with him, and not for him. 

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