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Stansted Airport: Where A Drink Costs More Than Your Flight

Updated on March 29, 2009
Be careful that your bar tab doesn't exceed the cost of your airline ticket!
Be careful that your bar tab doesn't exceed the cost of your airline ticket!

 North Americans generally deride Europe for its bureaucracy and high prices (and with more than a fair amount of justification), but there are spectacular bargains to be found if you search deeply enough. European budget airlines put their cousins on the other side of the pond to shame with astoundingly cheap flight offers around the continent and Mediterranean which cost a mere fraction of comparable American flights. You might be surprised at how cheap it can be to fly around a continent which is generally so damned expensive, even after the recent currency fluctuations of the Euro vs. the Dollar which have made the greenback significantly stronger than it has been in Europe lately.

Stansted is one of London’s five major airports and is generally renowned as the world center of budget flying. A very attractive and ultramodern facility, Stansted is located about an hour’s bus ride northeast of the center of London. If you wish to get there faster and without getting stuck in the city’s legendary traffic jams, you can choose to take a direct train, the Stansted Express from Liverpool Station, but as it is more expensive than the bus, the budget conscious travelers who frequent Stansted usually shun it.

Once at the airport, you will find a large array of strictly superbudget no-frills airlines such as EasyJet, RyanAir, Air Berlin, GermanWings, Air Italy, Wizz Air, Sky Europe and many more. These are all Ultra-Cheap Airlines and they are all vying for your pennies. However, the savvy traveler has already booked the flight well in advance on the Internet in order to secure the best prices, and what amazing prices they are: Inclusive of all taxes and fees, it is not at all unusual to fly to any point in Europe for around $40! With a little mousing around, you can find roundtrip deals such as:

  • Alicante: $35
  • Barcelona: $30
  • Canary Islands: $85
  • Copenhagen: $35
  • Lisbon: $50
  • Madrid: $40
  • Malta: $65
  • Munich: $40
  • Oslo: $40
  • Palermo: $45
  • Paris: $30
  • Prague: $45
  • Rome: $35
  • Sardinia: $50
  • Stockholm: $45
  • Vienna: $30
  • Warsaw: $50

These are truly spectacular prices. It would be very difficult to get a good restaurant meal in London for the price of any of these tickets! Indeed I doubt that you could take a taxi from any of those city centers to the airport for those fares. There are even airlines such as Globespan who will fly you as far as the Pacific coast with $199 round trip flights to Vancouver!

Stansted itself is a conventional UK airport and that means that the prices are mind-bogglingly high. A beer will set you back $15 and a cocktail upwards of $30. Imagine paying for a single drink about the same amount for the flight that you're waiting for! Given the budget tack of the majority of the travelers, they will usually pack their own sandwiches and refreshments and hold impromptu picnics in the waiting lounges! If you play your cards right and get a couple of discount vouchers to save a few dollars on the bus fare, it is quite reasonable to expect that you can travel from downtown London to almost any major European city and back again for around $50! I can't take a Greyhound bus to a town two hours away for that kind of money! In the superheated, ultra-expensive Europe of today, this represents barely pocket change!

If you are willing to drop the pretentious accoutrements of luxury flying and rough it just a tiny bit, you will be surprised at the amazing places you can go from Stansted Airport, and how incredibly cheap it can be! Who says you can't afford to travel in a Recession?

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    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 8 years ago from Madrid

      One's got to laugh at the irony!  A drink is more expensive that the flight you're waiting for!  Then again, airport bar tabs are usually quite errr, shall we say, upseting?  But if you're flying for 200 euro then a 15 euro bar tab won't be as shocking as if you're flying for 25!

    • Hal Licino profile image
      Author

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      A few years ago, I took a flight from Stansted to Rome Ciampino for exactly $13, all in, including taxes, etc. $13 sure won't buy you much else in the UK! :)

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      Stanstead's great, far better than the hell-hole of Heathrow.

      But any time you buy food or drink in an airport, you'd better have robbed a bank on the way!

    • Hal Licino profile image
      Author

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      I recently had the misfortune of my flight getting fogged in and having to spend the night at Heathrow. It was roughly tantamount to spending the night under a London bridge. You wouldn't believe how many homeless people sleep there! It's really unbelievable!

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      <shudder>

      Even better is London City Airport, so beautifully handy for us!

    • Hal Licino profile image
      Author

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Believe me I don't like schlepping all the way out to Essex but City Airport unfortunately doesn't have the flights to the places that I go to from London. :(

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      sadly, that's often true here as well.

    • Hal Licino profile image
      Author

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Oh well... at least when I go to Stansted I get the chance to meet Essex Girls! :)

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      that's another con, true.

      Why was Jesus not born in Essex? God couldn't find 3 wise men and a virgin.

    • Hal Licino profile image
      Author

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      I love it! Great one! I'd never heard that before! :)

    • profile image

      issues veritas 8 years ago

      Hal

      How do these drink prices, compare to Toronto or New York City?

      What is the price of a drink on the European budget carriers?

      Curious....

    • Hal Licino profile image
      Author

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      As Elena mentioned, airport prices for drinks are outrageous everywhere, and there is no enormous difference between Stansted and YYZ and JFK. The comparison was to the ratio of the drinks to the ridiculously low prices of the airfares available from Stansted. $13 is not going to get you far from YYZ or JFK! :)

    • profile image

      Ben 8 years ago

      The trouble with all of London's airports is the cost to get to and from the city center - upwards from £12 each way plus the tube means the first and last miles of your trip often cost more than the flight itself!! The sandwiches and beers at the airport aren't so bad as Boots and other high street stores have branches there - just avoid Pret's rip off sandwiches.

      Overall though, when travelling anywhere in Britain, get rid to be ripped off. It's ridiculous but people just seem to accept it - I have no idea why!?!?

    • Hal Licino profile image
      Author

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      The transport to the airport being more than the flight is ridiculous, but that why it's always been known as ripoff Britain. Even when the USD was almost 2 to 1 GBP, the price tags in Britain were about the same as the States. What you would get for 5 bucks in America would cost you 5 pounds in Britain! When I lived there at the height of the outrageous exchange to USD, I was making good money, but I was being paid in USD. I could barely afford to live in London on a salary that I could have lived quite well on in any North American city.

    • Acai Antioxidants profile image

      Acai Antioxidants 7 years ago

    • profile image

      cheap flights to stansted london 7 years ago

      This a a great hub I love what you do keep up the good work

    • Hal Licino profile image
      Author

      Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks, guys!

    • johnmce profile image

      johnmce 7 years ago from Brighton, UK

      haha i was at stansted a while ago and don't remember it being that pricey. Guess you don't have to drink!

    • Hal Licino profile image
      Author

      Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

      What's the point of being in Britain if you don't drink? It's like going to Naples and skipping pizza to eat at McD!

    • Hal Licino profile image
      Author

      Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

      I've generally found that most cheap hotels in England have a bedbug number that equals your savings. :)

    • profile image

      hunti410 7 years ago

      Travelling from Stansted is expensive too - especially the on site taxi company. We used www.stanstedtaxiservice.co.uk - they met us in the airport terminal and we got to west London for around £60 as opposed to over £100 with the terminal taxis! With a bit of insight and organisation you can and will always find a bargain. Good luck...

    • profile image

      Peej 6 years ago

      I had a long layover at Stansted with my family recently and a stiff drink is usually an essential way of relaxing me amid the stress and endless nagging (and that's just the missus!). However, this time we booked into a family hotel for 8 hours and I reckon overall it ended up saving me money! Though the quality of the actual hotel left a little to be desired...

      It's a shame that I only stumbled across this post afterwards, otherwise I'd have been more choosy about where we stayed.

      http://hubpages.com/hub/Family-hotels-Stansted-Air...

    • profile image

      Peej 6 years ago

      I had a long layover at Stansted with my family recently and a stiff drink is usually an essential way of relaxing me amid the stress and endless nagging (and that's just the missus!). However, this time we booked into a family hotel for 8 hours and I reckon overall it ended up saving me money! Though the quality of the actual hotel left a little to be desired...

      It's a shame that I only stumbled across this post afterwards, otherwise I'd have been more choosy about where we stayed.

      http://hubpages.com/hub/Family-hotels-Stansted-Air...

    • Globetrekkermel profile image

      Globetrekkermel 4 years ago from CALIFORNIA

      i will keep your article .very good suggestions if you are a travel freak like me.LOL!! thank for the post which is very informative and i love it. voted you thumbs up in useful and interesting.

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