We had a good laugh last week at this classic piece of fascist bullshit from the Daily Star, which tried to claim that one-way flights from Bucharest to London were selling for hundreds of pounds, a result of all those would-be Romanian immigrants wanting to hop it to the UK as soon as possible.
As it happens, flying between the two cities has never been cheaper. When Ryanair announced last month that it would be joining the Bucharest revolution (the airline begins flying to the Romanian capital from both London and Dublin in March) the number of airlines now flying the London – Bucharest route reached six: Tarom, BA, Wizz Air, Blue Air, easyJet and Ryanair.
As a predictable result of all this lovely competition, prices are being driven down to ridiculously low levels. Even before Ryanair’s announcement, we managed to buy four return tickets to London (with easyJet) for €328: when we first lived in Bucharest, that’s about how much a ticket cost for one person (in those days it was a BA/Tarom duopoly).
Anyway, with nothing else to do this weekend, we thought it might be useful to compare prices for the six different airlines, using fixed dates three months from now.
The dates we have chosen are the weekend of April 4 – 7, 2014. This is before the school Easter holidays (in both countries) begin, and can be considered a standard weekend. Prices were valid on January 4th and include all taxes and any obligatory extras (booking fee etc.) but do not include any optional extras (such as reserved seating in the case of the budget airlines).
BA‘s return ticket from Bucharest to London Heathrow on those dates costs €239.03. While that is the most expensive of the six airlines, flying into Heathrow does have its advantages, and there are two flights per day to choose from.
Tarom – who fly to Heathrow Terminal 4, these days something of a haven of peace and quiet amidst the madness of Terminal 5 (which BA use) – currently charge what we think is a bargain €203 return.
Ryanair are the cheapest of the six airlines flying from Bucharest – London on those dates, charging just €63.68 for a return to Stansted, an airport which really ought not to have the prefix London. While in theory Stansted is 47 minutes from Liverpool Street on the Stansted Express, the service is notoriously unreliable and prone to long delays. What’s more, the return flight to Bucharest leaves Stansted at 06:30.
Romanian budget outfit Blue Air are asking €130.65 for a return to Luton, slightly closer to central London than Stansted and better served by trains (Luton Airport station is a short bus ride from the airport, however).
Wizz Air also fly to Luton, with flights costing €117.62.
Finally, easyJet fly to Gatwick, south of London, for €84.68. Once again, however, the departure time of the return is an issue: 05:55 is horrifically early. On the other hand, all easyJet aircraft famously have non-reclining seats: a massive perk for all of us who do not enjoy sitting behind some ignorant pillock who fully reclines his seat the entire flight.
It is worth mentioning that we also had a look at flight search engine Skyscanner, but as we have found in the past, while it can sometimes be useful for more complicated routes which require a connection, for direct flights served by multiple airlines it is no cheaper than buying from the airlines themselves (and in some cases is more expensive).