During the last ten years or so we have witnessed a significant change in the frequency and methods that people use when travelling around Europe, largely as a result of the new budget airlines operating flight routes to destinations that might otherwise have remained undiscovered.
Despite the accusations of ‘cattle truck’ treatment by some of these cheap airlines they remain extremely popular with flights to many of the new destinations available at a very low price. If you can be flexible about the time and date of your travel, and can keep an eye on upcoming bargains there are often great deals to be found.
The best way to find these cheap flights for yourself is to plan ahead when possible, and to monitor the prices for your chosen flights very frequently. Set yourself a target price, that is, a price that you would be happy with – then watch the prices each day, and if they fall to (or even better, below) the price you have set to book the tickets!
While it is always possible the price will continue to fall, it might not, and if you are happy with that price then it is better to pay it than take the chance of even lower prices.
It has been reported that some airlines actually monitor the queries made on a given computer for a particular route and then adjust the quoted prices accordingly. That is to say, if you check flight prices one day, then go back to see the prices again the following day, it is probable that you are intending to book the flight – so the airline can increase the price slightly and you will almost certainly book it anyway. I don’t know if this is true, although it does seem to be the case that flights are often more expensive when you come to book them! As a precaution you could always make your final booking and price check using a different computer.
Some of the airports in France that have soared in popularity during recent years are those in the south at Angouleme, Bergerac, Rodez, and Pau.
It is often a bit of a mystery how flights can be so cheap. One explanation is that towns like Bergerac, Poitiers etc appreciate the value of the visitors brought to their region town by the budget airlines and pay them hundreds of thousands of pounds to continue flying to the town. Towns complain about this charge – especially when an airline ‘holds them hostage’ by insisting they should receive an additional amount of money or they will stop flying – but carry on paying all the same.
This is broadly an efficient business model for all concerned – the town and region benefit from the tourism and visitors benefit from cheap transport, so everyone is happy – including both the budget airlines and the ‘full price’ carriers.