Oliver Smith, The Daily Telegraph, July 22, 2013
Airlines charge up to 2,600 per cent more than supermarkets for in-flight food and drink, new research has revealed.
Budget carriers such as easyJet and Ryanair were singled out for applying the biggest mark-ups, according to the study by Travelsupermarket.com, the price comparison website.
The biggest price increases were found on hot drinks. A cup of tea on a Ryanair flight, for example, costs £2.61, compared with just 6p, on average, when bought from a supermarket and made at home.
Almost as considerable is the mark-up on water – often an unavoidable purchase due to airport regulations regarding travel with liquids. A 330ml bottle of water costs £1.80 with Jet2.com, 718 per cent more than it would in a supermarket, while Ryanair charges £2.61 for a 500ml bottle – a mark-up of 690 per cent.
Fizzy drinks were also found to be much more costly on board an aircraft. A 150ml can of 7Up is priced at £1.74 with Ryanair – 924 per cent more than the high street equivalent. The Irish low-cost airline charges £2.18 for a 250ml can of Pepsi – a mark-up of 848 per cent.
Other big mark-ups were found on sweets and snacks. A chocolate or blueberry muffin costs £2.50 when purchased on an easyJet flight – in a supermarket the same items cost 25p (as part of a four-pack).
A Kit Kat chocolate bar costs £1.30 with Aer Lingus – 294 per cent more than the 33p supermarket price. A 40g pot of Pringles crisps costs £2.61 with Wizzair, £2.09 with Ryanair and £1.50 with Monarch, representing a mark-up of 422 per cent, 302 per cent and 247 per cent, respectively.
On alcoholic drinks, the biggest price increase was found on Thomas Cook. It charges £4 for a 330ml bottle of Budweiser – 890 per cent more than the supermarket price of 78p.
Perhaps the most cost effective option for hungry fliers – other than packing your own lunch – is a sandwich. The average mark-ups on these were found to be around 200-300 per cent.