Travellers expect to pay a bit more than usual for the convenience of enjoying their onboard snacks, but new research by KAYAK.ie reveals that in-flight prices can be over 200% higher than what the supermarket charges.A comparison of two major airlines in Ireland found significant price increases on basic snacks and refreshments, with both domestic carriers charging up to €3.00 for a coffee. The worst offender is bottled water: a 500ml bottle of still water in a supermarket was found to cost €1, while onboard it cost over €3.00 – a markup of over 200%.
Research shows that wine prices onboard are just a little over the odds, with a 187.5ml bottle of wine costing passengers up to €6.00 onboard, while in the supermarket it would be less than €2.19 – a mark-up of just over 174%. However, compared to the mark-ups for all the other refreshments onboard, this could be considered a good deal.
Something to crunch?
Ryanair, perceived by most as the airline offering the lowest seat prices, was found to be the most expensive when it came to onboard snacks, with passengers paying €2.00 for a small bag of pretzel bites and €2.50 for a packet of crisps, the same price as for two large multi packs of crisps in the supermarket.
Butter croissants are also expensive: buying one on an aircraft costs nearly twice as much as in the shops surveyed. Ryanair is not alone in charging high prices. The price comparison snapshot by KAYAK.ie also found airlines routinely charged twice as much as supermarkets for chocolate bars.
Cashing in on beverages
On average, airlines charge €6 for a small bottle of wine, €4.75 for 330ml of beer and €2.50 for a 200ml can of soda, which is over 2.5 times more expensive than in a store. Orange juice was also found to be a big offender with an average price of €2.25 onboard (for a 150ml bottle), nearly as much as two large (900ml) bottles in a supermarket.
Suzanne Perry, Kayak, said: “Airlines are providing service when it comes to serving food and drinks onboard, which accounts for some of the mark-ups that we can observe – so they will argue that their prices are comparable to a coffee shop, bar or restaurant. However, the airline markups on bottled water seem particularly steep because travellers are unable to bring liquids of over 100ml through airport security and will therefore need to purchase drinks in the departure lounge or onboard. A timely pre-holiday reminder to make the most of the free drinking water fountains found in most terminals! Planning ahead by bringing an empty water bottle through security could help make some savings.”
Some of the other largest markups
Croissant – €2.50 onboard vs. €0.89 in supermarket, +180%; Noodles – €3.50 onboard vs. €1.44 in supermarkets, +143%; Sandwich – €5.00 onboard vs. €2.85 in supermarkets, +75%.