Will Ryanair's Brexit Sale Be The Last Low Fares Britons See?
Photo courtesy of Ryanair
Ryanair has launched a one-day, one million seat fare sale in the wake of the Brexit vote. Fares for flights between the UK and the continent are as low as £9.99.
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary had come out as strongly opposed to the campaign to leave the EU in the days leading up to the vote. His airline is based in Ireland but has one of its largest bases at London Stansted.
Ryanair unhappy with Brexit vote results
"I think as the U.K. largest airline, Ryanair has played a leading role in the campaign, and I think one of the things that U.K. citizens can understand that Europe has delivered for them has been the low-fare travel revolution... There'd be huge uncertainty while Britain tries to negotiate an exit out of the single market and tries to replace it with a whole series of trade deals, which won't get done."
The sale was actually announced before the votes for the referendum were counted. The airline had said that if Britons voted to leave the EU, the sale would still go ahead. "[I]f the Leave side do win, then these will be the last low fares the UK will enjoy for a very long time.”
Get cheap fares while you still can
The Ryanair sale covers hundreds of destinations in Europe. It is for flights taking off in October and November.
There could be some pitfalls for people who are able to take advantage of the sale today. Tickets are one-way, so fliers could be hit with higher fares on the return trip. By October, fares could have risen significantly as a result of Brexit.
READ MORE: Brexit and the UK's Hotel Industry
Falling pound could make travel more difficult
Also, the British pound has fallen to its lowest point in nearly three decades compared to the US dollar. For international travelers, £9.99 isn't worth as much on the exchange market as it was yesterday.
Some resorts are actually refusing to take pounds as a result of this forex freefall. A few resorts in Greece will only accept Euros, and a resort in Cape Town, South Africa has said that it will no longer accept payment in GBP.
Sales in times of uncertainty
This is not a surprising move by Ryanair. The airline has always lowered fares in times of uncertainty to keep people in the air. The airline lowered prices in the wake of 9/11 and, more recently, in response to the terror attacks in Brussels and Paris.
There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, but it might not be as bad as it seems now. The UK is not leaving immediately; it will take a couple of years to negotiate its official exit. During this time, the country could be able to negotiate a deal that could allow its airlines to still take advantage of the EU's relaxed aviation laws. However, the uncertainty in the mean time will undoubtedly hit fares and currency markets and make travel more expensive.
Time will tell if this 24-hour sale really has that last low fares that Britons will see for the next two years. Right now, it looks like fares will be rising in the near term and people paying in pounds will be taking a hit when they travel internationally.
More by Josh Lew
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