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Two friends living in Newcastle and Birmingham met up in Spain because two return flights were cheaper than one rail fare between the two English cities.
Lucy Walker had planned to travel to Birmingham to see her university friend Zara Quli but was shocked to discover that the return trip would cost £105.
The 27-year-old, who teaches English as a foreign language, looked online and found that she could travel from Newcastle to Malaga for less than £20 return with Ryanair.
Lucy Walker had planned to travel to Birmingham to see her university friend Zara Quli but was shocked to discover that the return trip would cost £105
Lucy, left, looked online and found that she could travel from Newcastle to Malaga for less than £20 return with Ryanair. Zara found flights from Birmingham for £55.59
The flights (route pictured in red) cost a total of £75, £30 less than a single rail fare between the two cities (in purple)
The pair decided to go to Malaga and were enjoyed Spanish tortillas, coffee and olive oil in the sun instead of seeing each other in either Newcastle or Manchester
Zara, a 26-year-old charity worker, also found flights from Birmingham for £55.59 with Spanish budget airline Vueling and hostels were as cheap as £10 per night.
With the two return flights costing £30 less than a rail ticket, the pair were reunited in Malaga on Saturday, January 7, and spent three nights enjoying the 20C weather.
Former Nottingham University student Lucy said: ‘Trying to travel last-minute in the UK is always such a kick in the teeth as they put such a big premium on it.
‘There are always these last minute deals for flights and so we just checked for a better deal.
‘We realised it was cheaper for the both of us to go to Malaga instead.
‘Considering I try to be environmentally friendly it is not something I would normally do but the train is so expensive and this was just so much cheaper.’
Tthey both flew to Malaga on a three-day trip totalling 6,000 miles, and managed to save £30 on travel compared to what they would have spent on a 200-mile rail ticket
Lucy paid £9.99 each way for her tickets with Ryanair, and Zara paid £55.29 return to travel with Vueling.
The flights were cheaper than the rail fares between Birmingham and Newcastle would have been, despite the two cities being only 200 miles apart.
Newcastle to Birmingham by rail
Distance: 200 miles, 400-mile round trip, cost of one return fare £105
Newcastle to Malaga
Distance: 1,350 miles, 2,700-mile round trip, £9.99 each way
Total cost: £19.98
Birmingham to Malaga
Distance: 1,100 miles, 2,200-mile round trip
Cost of outbound flight: £36.99
Cost of return flight: £18.30
Price of flights: £55.29
Total cost of both flights: £75.27
The distance between the UK and Malaga is roughly 1,500 miles, meaning Lucy and Zara made round-trips of about 3,000 miles to see each other.
Lucy said: ‘It was more expensive to check a bag in than the cost of the tickets. You get quite a generous hand luggage allowance though so we didn’t even need to.’
The pair spent two nights in a hostel for about £10 a night then travelled to Granada where they stayed for one night in a hotel for £11 each.
Lucy added: ‘Everything is cheaper out there, lots of things that add up in the UK, like the transport to get from the airport into the city is just one euro eighty, about £1.50.
‘It works out a lot cheaper when you go out for a drink too. The law in Granada is they have to bring you tapas when you order drinks.
‘They start off quite basic but by the time you are on your third drink they start to bring out prawns and things.
‘It’s only about two euros for a bottle of beer which is a lot cheaper than over here and by the time you have had a few drinks and the tapas you are stuffed for the price of one cocktail in London. We had a lovely time.’
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