Ryanair: The Best Airline You've Never Heard Of

Includes: LUV, RYAAY
by: Eddy Elfenbein

Eddy Elfenbein submits: Dublin-based Ryanair Holdings (NASDAQ:RYAAY) is revolutionizing air travel in Europe. They've borrowed their business model from Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), and they're having the same kind of success.

What's their base rate for a round-trip flight from London to Pisa? One Euro cent. Of course, there are some setbacks:

Not everyone is happy with Europeans' unchecked mobility. People in countries newly served by budget airlines complain that British bachelor and bachelorette parties are taking over Eastern European cities such as Riga.

European Weekends, a Nottingham-based events coordinator, offers one package that features a "Soviet nurse banquet," with prices starting at 55 pounds ($108) per person.

The cost covers five shots of vodka, five female entertainers, a "lesbian nurse show" and a meal.

"I know about guys who go to Prague for a weekend of cheap beer, prostitutes and fighting," Vertovec says. "People there really complain about it -- and that's due to low-cost airlines."

In the last nine years, the stock is up more than 15-fold.


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