It all started with a news story
A few days ago I read an article on The Huffington Post about a guy, Joe Furness, who found that it was cheaper to fly from Newcastle to Menorca, hire a car and sleep in it, then take a flight from Menorca to London; cheaper that getting a train from Newcastle to London.
This story was, today, also picked up on the BBC website. So, I wanted to run with this and see if I could match is claim, or similar
What I started out looking for
My original idea was to validate this theory against a journey I take from time to time. I live down on the South Coast here in the UK, in Dorset. I often travel to see my family who lives in the West Midlands. So, I thought, I will check flights from Bournemouth to Birmingham.
I found, expensive… This maybe due to the fact that it’s expensive because of the airports of choice and the limited flights. I’ve often found, when checking for package holidays, that flying from Bournemouth can be £200-500, sometimes more, that if I fly from Gatwick.
So, I moved my search to Southampton. Again expensive. The first thing about this story, choose large airports as the smaller airports cost more.
Next thought – let’s reproduce his flight
So, with today’s costs. Looking over this next week I thought I would try his route from Newcastle – Menorca – London.
So, for Newcastle to Menorca, the cheapest flight I found what a Thomas Cook Airlines flight which is coming out at £29. This is on a number of days so it’s not just a one off which is fantastic thought the £15.99 reported in the news article.
Next part is the flight from Menorca to London. Good news on this one as flights start at just £11, again with Thomas Cook Airlines. So, that’s a total cost of £40 for Newcastle to London via Menorca.
How does this compare to the train
So, let’s check the train costs. This is coming in quite inconsistent. So, I can see fairs at £65 onwards. Then there are fairs going up to £237.50.
Even at the cheapest rate, the cost of the train comes in at £25 more than the cost of flying to Menorca and then onto London.
What we haven’t considered here
So, there are a few things missing from this quick look scenario.
- In the news article, Joe hired a car for £750 which he slept in (as well as drove around). In this breakdown, we didn’t add this cost – or the cost of petrol
- We haven’t factored in the cost of food. This flying method could mean that your journey will take close to 24 hours or maybe more. You need to pay for food and drink for that time.
- The cost of your time. We all have a value of our time. Now, some may say that the time spent on the lovely island of Menorca (or which other via destination you use) is far more valuable that the time spent on a train. However, you may value your time getting back to a family more. We have to put a value to our time which may mean a £25 saving is not as much value.
The first thing I can conclude, not all airports and flights are equal. It seems that the deals are really from the bigger, mainline airports. Smaller airports, even international ones like Bournemouth, don’t have the cheaper deals – at least I could not find any.
Secondly. I think, from a monetary point of view, we can all say that when on a journey like this – we need to look at all factors of transport. This has shown that you can fly out of the UK and back in again at less of a cost that catching a direct train. However, you need to be at a place in your life where you can do this.
Before I had a family I would have certainly considered this. In fact, with the cost of flights being so cheap, I would have jumped on a Plane Friday night and flown back into the UK on the Sunday just for a day away.
Traveling this way is certainly more unique, its more fun and adventurous and it’s cheaper that we all think. So, why not check out the prices next time you need to trave across the UK.