September 30th, 2019

Is This the Beginning of the End of Low Cost Carriers?


Catherine Chaulet

St. Augustine once said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Yes, travel enriches, it transforms, and as Jack Kerouac said, “the road is life,” so travel and travel more. Isn’t it frustrating to see, however, how low-cost airlines that opened access to travel through lowering costs, have created a monster with two heads: over-tourism and stranded tourists from accumulating bankruptcies. In 2019 alone WOW air and Jet Airways stopped operations. That was followed by last week’s announcement of the collapse of Thomas Cook that left tens of thousands of travelers stranded in over 20 countries. The co-dependency between tour operators and low cost airlines, such as Condor and Thomas Cook, raises the question what major travel company is slated to fail next. What are travelers to do?

There are two ways travelers can protect themselves: one, using credit cards that are protected under the fair credit billing act; and two, taking out comprehensive travel insurance. The real solution, however, lays with governments that should pay closer attention to high-debt operating airlines and tour operators. After all, collapses with large financial impacts are ultimately corrected with tax money.  The U.K. government alone is currently organizing the largest repatriation to bring its stranded citizens home. It won’t be the last time a government has to step in.