By Steve Dinnen
Wizz, Jazz, Hop. Buzz? No, these aren’t cartoon memes that pop up when Batman smacks a bad guy. They’re airlines in Europe – even Poland-based Buzz (not sure I want to travel with them). In addition to the big national carriers that haul us between the States and Europe, like British Air and Air France, there are more than 30 regional carriers that hop all over the continent and into Africa and the Middle East.
Ryan Air, of Ireland, is far and away the largest carrier in Europe, swamping second-place Lufthansa. It’s sort of the Southwest Airlines of Europe, with fares that call themselves out as discount. Not so sure about that, as they charge for even the first piece of luggage. They also charge for so-called premium seating (all the seats are the same – some are just closer to the door). And once on board expect no frills; we didn’t even get water on a Volotea flight to Barcelona.
One carrier tried to sell me on “collapse” insurance, which would have covered my ticket had the airline folded on me.
But these carriers pretty much go anywhere. A middle-sized city like, say, Nantes, France, population 303,000, has 11 carriers serving more than three dozen destinations. Nantes to Cagliari by land and boat: three days. With Volotea: 120 minutes.