My cousin Alex – who, in our family parlance, would be referred to as my brother – is on a work assignment in Dublin for the next couple of weeks. Obviously, we wanted to come and visit. And the truths exposed in my onetime editorial on the costs of European travel garnered new evidence.
Four travelers, less than a week’s notice, understandable constraints of time between the end of schoolday on Friday and beginning of the next schoolday on Monday. The route, London – Dublin, is served by a plethora of airlines, from majors to regionals. The actual trip is just a bit over an hour. One would have thought that even at the last moment, the fares would be under £100 per person.
No such luck! We came across an anomaly in the form of a BMI flight out of Heathrow (remember, it’s only the fourth most convenient airport to us in the London area) that would land in Dublin around midnight on Friday night. The total cost at an American consolidator came out as $760, or about £95 per person. Tolerable, if not for the time of the flight.
Everything else was considerably higher or considerably less convenient time-wise. We ended up paying about £155 per person, for an 8pm flight on Air France’s CityJet out of London City airport (which I heard from a number of people is the most pleasant to go through in London). Rather steep, if you consider both the duration of the actual air travel and the length of the entire trip. A premium for the excitement of an unscheduled trip to see someone close – that’s how we are going to look at it.
In case I have not made this clear: Don’t listen to people who rhapsodize the supposed ease with which you can hop over to various European destinations with London as your base. Yes, you can – but only if money and time constraints are of no concern to you. Otherwise…
P.S. We also considered an alternative approach of crossing to Ireland by a ferry. The nearest ferry terminal is in Liverpool, over four hours away by car; the ferry itself takes several hours to cross. This mode of transport would work only if we had at least a week to spend.