Tuesday 27 September 2016

Sky-high Prices: Airline snacks marked up by as much as 2,646pc

In-flight delights

Published 01/03/2016 | 06:37

An air hostess at work. Photo: Deposit
An air hostess at work. Photo: Deposit

Feel like you're paying over the odds for an in-flight snack? You may be right - in some cases, by over 2,600pc.

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New research by Kayak.co.uk, the travel search engine, claims to show the sky-high prices of in-flight refreshment on budget airlines.

The worst offender? Soup.

A Cup-a-Soup sachet can be bought in a supermarket for as little as 12p/15c, Kayak says, but Thomas Cook Airlines charges £2.40/€3 for the same product – a mark-up of around 1,820pc. Flybe's mark-up is 2,646pc, it says.

Chocolate bars were found to be routinely marked up by over 500pc – costing as much as £1.56/€2 on board but just 25p/32c at the supermarket.

A small (250ml) can of cola was found to cost €2.50 on Ryanair – versus just 25p/32c at a supermarket for a 330ml can.

The prices are based on in-flight menus published on airline websites, Kayak says, with supermarket prices correct as of February 24, 2016.

Savvy travellers will realise, of course, that the best value on in-flight menus often comes in combo items, such as Ryanair's meal deal - which bundles any hot meal with water or a hot drink and crisps for €10.

Airlines might also point out that supermarkets enjoy greater economies of scale, and do not have to operate in highly specialised environments.

However, Kayak says airline drinks prices are sky-high too.

A small bottle of orange juice (250ml) costs as much as £2.70/€3.40 on low cost airlines, but just 65p/82c per litre at supermarkets (1,562pc mark-up).

A 330ml can of continental lager costs up to £4.20/€5.30 on low cost airlines – yet can be as cheap as 83p/€1.05 for a 440ml can at a supermarket.

Clearly, airlines are providing a service - and mark-ups are charged by any business in a similar situation (we'd love to see the breakdown on cinema popcorn). Nevertheless, it's worth remembering that food items can be carried on board.

Your own snacks won't just be cheaper - but possibly tastier too.

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