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An overview of Airlines Operating in the UK
The UK is no different to the rest of Europe insofar that its relationship to flying changed hugely with the deregulation of the flights market - the development of low-cost airlines offering competitive rates has meant that where once people might have been inclined to drive or take a ferry and undergo a grueling overnight journey all in the name of saving money, they no longer feel that this is such a necessary thing to do. Additionally, the arrival of the no-frills budget airlines had an effect on the popularity of the UK public towards package holiday deals, which had long been a staple of how the typical UK holidaymaker would organise a trip abroad. These deals, which involved flying on a charter flight, included accommodation and had been popular with the public ever since the UK seaside holiday fell out of favour, were now taking a back seat and it wasn't until the financial market crash in the late 2000s that they began to pick up in popularity again.
Despite the explosion of the budget-carriers, traditional mainline airlines still play a significant role in the air travel market. The prices may not be as low, however, often these companies will provide certain perks that low-cost airlines do not, such as complimentary drinks, reclining seats and no charges on checked-in baggage.
Many companies operate modern fleets with comfortable, reclining seats, wifi and air-conditioning. Compare the services available.
Further facilities and services may vary according to the transport company and country of operation. For more detailed information about providers, please refer to our comprehensive list of luggage restrictions.
The UK is very well connected to the rest of Europe by a variety of international airlines with bases in the UK, and London, in particular, is a gateway to destinations in all corners of the world. London’s six international airports make up the busiest airport system in the world and handle over half of the UK’s entire air traffic. Nonetheless, the proportion of flights within the United Kingdom that are domestic remains relatively small and the share of passengers for these has reduced markedly on a number of particular routes, such as between London and Manchester and Birmingham and Edinburgh. Both of these have seen a rise in rail traffic. However, for journeying between London and Scotland, flying remains the preferred mode of travel. Indeed, air travel is the most popular mode of transport for both inbound and outbound journeys in the UK. Currently, more than 230 million air travel passengers pass through the UK's airports each year - this number is predicted to continue rising. In fact, the UK is behind only a few countries - the USA and China - in terms of number of passengers handled in a year. The UK has 59 airports which are deemed worthy of the classification of "main airport" and is home to 40 airlines which handle the vast majority of flights in the UK. The major airlines in the UK include its legacy carrier British Airways, as well as a number of other budget airlines, chief among them Ryanair and easyJet. Tools such as flight comparison sites also have made finding a particular flight for a reasonable price a lot easier.