A European Airline Offers Cheap International Flights

April 14, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. transatlantic /ˌtrænshttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngətˈlænhttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngtɪk, ˌtrænz-/ (adj.) – crossing the Atlantic Ocean
Example: British Airways has various transatlantic flights to North and South America.

2. ambitious /æmˈbɪʃhttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngəs/ (adj.) – very impressive but may be very difficult to achieve
ExampleThe airline’s ambitious goal of offering $10 fares became a reality.

3. no-frills /ˈnoʊˌfrɪlz/ (adj.) – providing only the basic things; not having any luxury or any added service
ExampleThe airline is cheap because it offers a no-frills service.

4. fare /fɛər/ (n.) – the money paid to be able to travel on a vehicle
ExampleThe bus fare is cheaper in the province than in the city.

5. commence /kəˈmɛns/ (v.) – to begin or to start
Example: The airline commenced its international flights a couple of years ago.


Read the text below.
Ryanair [RUH-yan-eyr], the biggest and most profitable airline in Europe, has announced a new business model that would offer transatlantic flights for as low as $10.

The airline’s CEO, Michael O’Leary [OH-lee-ri], spoke of this ambitious plan at a conference last February. The no-frills airline is planning to expand to the United States, offering tickets from Europe to New York and Boston for only 10 Euros ($13.70) and flights back at 7.30 Euros ($10).

However, $10 is not really all that a passenger should pay. O’Leary admitted that Ryanair will charge for other things like booking, baggage, and seat selection. The airline, which has been known for ultra-low fares, charges even basic services like using the toilet.

O’Leary emphasized that the airline could make money even on a 99-cent fare because it also has a high number of business or premium seats. Fifteen percent of those who pay for airline frills subsidize very low fares for other passengers.

However, these very low fares will not be available anytime soon. Ryanair will commence its flights to the US only after it purchases 30-50 intercontinental aircrafts, which may take five years because of stiff competition with other airlines.       

At present, the cheapest airfare from London to New York costs $250 when booked in advance. However, some analysts believe that Ryanair can surpass even the lowest airfare available today.

According to airline analyst Henry Harteveldt, Ryanair could easily be the pricing leader once it enters the North Atlantic market. In addition, if Ryanair offers a business class product, they would be a threat even to established airlines.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think Ryanair’s offer will be appealing to passengers? Why or why not?
·         What do you think are the advantages or disadvantages of cheap flights?

Discussion B

·         Which would you prefer, a cheap airfare with poor service or an expensive one with an excellent service? Explain.
·         Which airlines in your country have the cheapest flights? How about the best service?


April 14, 2014