Two girls get return flights to Malaga to meet (cost £75) rather than one Birmingham to Newcastle rail ticket (£105)

This story illustrates how the cost of flying does not reflect the environmental cost, and its price is far too low.  Two women decided to save themselves a small amount of money, by travelling to Malaga to meet up, rather than one making train journey between Birmingham and Newcastle.  The cost of a flight on 7th January by Ryanair from Newcastle to Malaga was £9.99 each way.  Total £19.98. [The APD would be £13, so Ryanair made just £7 from transporting this passenger 2,700 miles].  (2,700 miles round trip).  The cost of a return flight by Vueling from Birmingham to Malaga was £55.29 (2,200 miles round trip). By contrast the cost of a  return train trip from Newcastle to Birmingham was £105.  The two girls therefore spent about £75 on travel, (plus another £60 on hostels in Malaga for 3 nights, so they were actually out of pocket  … compared to the rail trip and one staying at the house of the other …)  The cost of staying in Malaga, off season, is also very cheap, encouraging Brits to take yet more trips very, very cheaply – regardless of their person carbon footprint, and the environmental impact.  Newcastle and Birmingham are not really that far apart. How is the price for one return ticket as high as £105?  And how can airlines be allowed to sell a ticket for a journey of 1,300 miles for just £10? There is something (well, many things) deeply rotten with the current system.



Cost of flight by Ryanair from Newcastle to Malaga, £9.99 each way. Total £19.98. (2,700 miles round trip).  [The APD would be £13, so Ryanair made just £7 from transporting this passenger 2,700 miles]

Cost of flight by Vueling from Birmingham to Malaga, total return £55.29 (2,200 miles round trip).

Cost of train from Newcastle to Birmingham £105. (400 miles round trip).


Comments on this daft story by AirportWatch members:


Ryanair sort-of swallowed the APD on the basis that since the aircraft would fly the journey anyway, any contribution to the bottom line they can get for an otherwise-empty seat is worth having: and they won’t be the only carrier with the same approach.

But I do question the fundamentals of the story – apart from what they may have spent on in-flight refreshment or In-Malaga ditto, unless they lived on top of the airports they used it must have cost them more just to get to the airport and back home again than they spent on their flights.

I suspect it’s the journos not letting the truth get in the way of a good story.   There are no aviation news items around at the moment, so perhaps some creativity is being required!


It isn’t true. It says ‘Distance: 200 miles, 400-mile round trip, cost of one return rail fare £105 …Total cost of both flights: £75.27 Saving: £29.75′, but in fact you can pick up single rail fares just a week in front, as follows:

Newcastle-Birmingham £35; Birmingham-Newcastle £28 – total £63.

Life imitating comedy (or the other way round?): this is the same story as Andy Parson was joking about on the News Quiz last week, but he was just imagining it. Could they in someway be related?


It is too bonkers to believe, but the Mail story has been widely read …. Good to know rail can still compete.

Deeply irritating if Ryanair gets away with its horrible encouragement of very cheap hypermobility, just because it can.  Must just be that it is putting on too many flights in the off season and cannot fill them. 

People like these girls all contribute to Ryanair being able to say they have very high load factors ….

Someone I know has just flown home from Portugal, where he works, to Bournemouth with Ryanair for the Princely sum of €5. That’s less than half the price of my journey by train from Surrey to Waterloo, off peak and with a senior railcard.

In my view it’s high time the rail industry fought back both in terms of its pricing and running a high profile rail v air campaign. Until Government formulates a coherent transport policy linked to environment to penalise this “stack em high, sell ‘em cheap” aviation business model, this nonsense will continue.



Two friends living in Newcastle and Birmingham met up in Malaga because it was cheaper to fly to SPAIN than getting the train to see each other

Lucy Walker, from Newcastle, and Zara Quli, from Birmingham, planned to meet

Rail fare between cities was £105, but Lucy found Ryanair return flight for £20

Zara got flight from Birmingham for £55.59 and accommodation cost just £10

The two trips totalling 6,000 miles were cheaper than one 150-mile train fare

By James Dunn For Mailonline


Two friends living in Newcastle and Birmingham met up in Spain because two return flights were cheaper than one rail fare between the two English cities.

Lucy Walker had planned to travel to Birmingham to see her university friend Zara Quli but was shocked to discover that the return trip would cost £105.

Lucy, aged 27, who teaches English as a foreign language, looked online and found that she could travel from Newcastle to Malaga for less than £20 return with Ryanair.   Zara found flights from Birmingham for £55.59

The flights cost a total of £75, which is £30 less than a single rail fare between the two cities (in purple)

The pair decided to go to Malaga and were enjoyed Spanish tortillas, coffee and olive oil in the sun instead of seeing each other in either Newcastle or Manchester.

Zara, a 26-year-old charity worker, also found flights from Birmingham for £55.59 with Spanish budget airline Vueling and hostels were as cheap as £10 per night.

With the two return flights costing £30 less than a rail ticket, the pair were reunited in Malaga on Saturday, January 7, and spent three nights enjoying the 20C weather.

Former Nottingham University student Lucy said: ‘Trying to travel last-minute in the UK is always such a kick in the teeth as they put such a big premium on it. ‘There are always these last minute deals for flights and so we just checked for a better deal.

‘We realised it was cheaper for the both of us to go to Malaga instead.

‘Considering I try to be environmentally friendly it is not something I would normally do but the train is so expensive and this was just so much cheaper.’

They both flew to Malaga on a three-day trip totalling 6,000 miles, and managed to save £30 on travel compared to what they would have spent on a 200-mile rail ticket

Lucy paid £9.99 each way for her tickets with Ryanair, and Zara paid £55.29 return to travel with Vueling.

The flights were cheaper than the rail fares between Birmingham and Newcastle would have been, despite the two cities being only 200 miles apart.

Newcastle to Birmingham by rail

Distance: 200 miles, 400-mile round trip, cost of one return fare £105

Newcastle to Malaga

Distance: 1,350 miles, 2,700-mile round trip, £9.99 each way

Total cost: £19.98

Birmingham to Malaga

Distance: 1,100 miles, 2,200-mile round trip

Cost of outbound flight: £36.99

Cost of return flight: £18.30

Price of flights: £55.29

Total cost of both flights: £75.27

Saving: £29.75

The distance between the UK and Malaga is roughly 1,500 miles, meaning Lucy and Zara made round-trips of about 3,000 miles to see each other.

Lucy said: ‘It was more expensive to check a bag in than the cost of the tickets. You get quite a generous hand luggage allowance though so we didn’t even need to.’

The pair spent two nights in a hostel for about £10 a night then travelled to Granada where they stayed for one night in a hotel for £11 each.

Lucy added: ‘Everything is cheaper out there, lots of things that add up in the UK, like the transport to get from the airport into the city is just one euro eighty, about £1.50.

‘It works out a lot cheaper when you go out for a drink too. The law in Granada is they have to bring you tapas when you order drinks.

‘They start off quite basic but by the time you are on your third drink they start to bring out prawns and things.

‘It’s only about two euros for a bottle of beer which is a lot cheaper than over here and by the time you have had a few drinks and the tapas you are stuffed for the price of one cocktail in London. We had a lovely time.’