March 5, 2006


Boarding Now On Flights of Fancy: Frankfurt to Rome for $19: Cheap Fares Fuel Europe's Passion for Weekend Trips Abroad (Mary Jordan, March 5, 2006, Washington Post)

Flights as cheap as bus fares are changing the rhythm of European life. Growing numbers of Europeans are buying second homes in other countries because they can afford to travel to them frequently, creating building booms along seasides from Croatia to Portugal. Low airfares have also given rise to Euro commuters -- the increasing numbers of people who work in one country and spend weekends with their families in another.

Some Britons are flying to Hungary, which has become a hub for good-quality, affordable dental care, and finding the bill for a crown and the airfare is less than a trip to a private dentist at home.

Above all, cheap flights have redefined the European weekend. Some off-peak tickets are now offered for $25 on popular routes such as London to Salzburg, Glasgow to Paris and Dublin to Valencia. Millions of people, especially in Britain, Ireland and Germany, now fly off for what are called weekend "city breaks" in other countries as often as they once drove to the nearest coast or lake.

Ryanair, the largest European low-cost carrier, said it carried 35 million passengers last year, up from 7 million in 2000. Another low-fare giant, easyJet, ferried 30 million people, up from 6 million in 2000.

"It has democratized flying," said Stephen Hogan, spokesman for the Brussels-based Airports Council International, who said a flight from Dublin to Paris in the mid-1990s cost about $600 if booked in advance. It now costs as little as about $50. "It makes the dream of Europe possible -- the free movement of people within countries."

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 5, 2006 4:39 PM

Whale oil costs more than it used to!

Posted by: Bartelson at March 5, 2006 8:32 PM

But aren't cheap airflights anti-human ?

Living in one country, working in another, vacation home in yet a third...
Where's the sense of community ?

Posted by: Noam Chomsky at March 5, 2006 8:58 PM


Of course, but it's only Europe.

Posted by: oj at March 5, 2006 9:03 PM

Europe discovers their own Southwest Airlines. Thrity years after the fact, but better late than never.

Posted by: John at March 5, 2006 10:23 PM

Now that so many northern Europeans have discovered how pleasant it is to live in a warm climate, will they all flock to the south like we did in the U.S. and only go north in the summer? After all, per the EU, it's one big county now.

Posted by: erp at March 6, 2006 10:40 AM

southwest is great if you are going were they fly, but they are still much more expensive to use than these low-cost eu flights.

Posted by: toe at March 6, 2006 1:06 PM

I believe that the flights out of London are from the more distant airports, rather than Heathrow (which is on the Tube), so it may actually cost more to get to airport than take the flight, especially if you don't have a car.

Posted by: George at March 6, 2006 5:09 PM