Many people I have spoken to during my time as a flight attendant have mentioned a fear of flying with low-cost airlines. When I ask them why, the answer is normally always the same;
Low-Cost means poor safety (or maintenance).
So, I’m here to blow this myth out of the water, and ensure that flying with a low-cost airline does not make you nervous.
Firstly, all airlines have the same safety standards that they MUST abide by – or risk being grounded (i.e. banned!). These standards are set by the governing body. In the UK this is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and in the US it’s the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Other countries may have their own regulatory bodies – but most follow the same safety standards as these two.
Further to this, the CAA or FAA have the right to ban any airline from it’s airspace if it deems them to be operating below their safety standards.
Secondly, a low-cost airline’s business model is based on driving down costs – but safety is NEVER compromised. In fact, most of these airlines will strive to be much safer than the standards they are obliged to meet.
The reason for this is simple;
A serious accident, or emergency, involving a low-fares airline will likely destroy that company’s reputation immediately. They simply cannot afford to have a serious incident, therefore airlines like easyJet (above right), Ryanair, Air Southwest, Southwest Airlines, and others will spend as much cash as they need to, to ensure the safety of their passengers – no corners will be cut.
So, how do they offer fares so cheap? By charging you for food, by making money elsewhere, and by negotiating great business deals with suppliers and airports.
You will also find that the majority of the budget airlines will be flying the newest aircraft, as these are the most fuel efficient, and require less maintenance than older planes – which, of course, helps keep costs down.
Easyjet reports that the average age of it’s fleet is just 3.5 years – and the company operates a total of 167 aircraft (as of September 2008).
So, in conclusion, I hope that you can see that there is no need for a fear of flying with low-cost airlines. They are just as safe as any other operating airline.