Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Riga to London fare watch

Right now two airlines offers direct Riga – London service: airBaltic (Gatwick) and Ryanair (Stansted). FR operates twice daily (morning and evening) flights; airBaltic makes daily midday flight and additional evening flight on selected days during summer. Wizzair will start three weekly Luton flights in end of March so bringing some fresh air in the market.

Here is a graph of available ticket prices in March, April and September:

Wizzair is cleverly using the drop in Latvian advertising sector by putting their pink posters with cute flight attendants on virtually every free billboard in the town. Also promotional pricing with average March&April fares of €27 for Riga – London and €33 for London – Riga creates big public attention.

Average available fares on March and April for BT is €66 (RIX-LGW) and €76 (LGW-RIX); for FR €69 (RIX – STN) and €60 (STN – RIX). The very similar fare levels for FR and BT breaks the popular stereotype of Ryanair being the cheapest and airBaltic the most expensive. In London – Riga section the airport fares seems to make the actual difference between BT an FR (as all depart from one airport in Riga but different airports in London area).
In September the ticket prices for BT and W6 flights are actually higher than in April. airBaltic and Ryanair now put bigger accent on monthly sales with cheap tickets for close travel dates rather than traditional cheep fares for distant dates. For budget travelers it means that “book well in advance” tactics must be changed to “keep your bags packed and hope that your destination will be in the next sale list”.

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