Why you should eat peanuts on planes and sweets on trains: The highest and lowest snack mark-ups in the air and on the rails revealed

  • Study compares snack prices on planes and trains compared to supermarkets
  • Peanuts found to have lowest mark up at 71% and beer highest at 382%
  • Airlines defend mark up factoring cost of storing and serving products in sky

Peanuts are the best value in-flight snack and beer is the worst, according to new research, which has revealed the biggest refreshment mark-ups on airlines and trains.

It also found that bags of sweets are the best-value snack to devour on trains. 

While all flyers can expect to pay for the privilege of their sky-high snacks, peanuts are on average 71 per cent more expensive in-flight than in a supermarket. 

It's peanuts! The salty snack was revealed as the best value flight on a number of airlines (file image)

But it's the eye-watering 382 per cent mark up on beer that is most likely to sober up cash-strapped travellers. 

The study, by International Currency Exchange (ICE), researched the cost of refreshments across a number of major airlines and train operators compared with their price in a supermarket.

Despite their controversy among allergy sufferers, the study found that peanuts offer the best value mid-air snack to hungry flyers.

However, if travellers need to quench their thirst it's not only a 330ml can of beer that will cost them significantly more when purchased in the cabin rather than a supermarket. On average bottled water has 273 per cent mark up, in the skies.

Flyers with a sweet tooth can expect to fork out 123 per cent more to satisfy their chocolate bar craving and will be punished with a 173 per cent mark up on a can of fizzy drink compared to standard retail prices.

Train passengers face similarly steep mark ups on refreshments bought on their journeys, according to the study.

A mark up of  287 per cent was found on beer and 247 per cent on bottled water. 

A sharing bag of sweets was the best value snack for rail passengers at just 30 per cent more on average than the retail price in store. 

To calculate the average airline mark-up, Ice investigated snack prices on Jet2, Easyjet, Ryanair, Flybe, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways, Aer Lingus, Monarch, FlyDubai and Norwegian, in October 2016.



Average Mark Up

Can of fizzy drink 173% 161%    
Bottled water 273% 247%    
Can of beer (330ml) 382% 287%    
Chocolate bar 123% 51%    
Packet of crisps 126% 42%    
Packet of peanuts 71% N/A    
Sharing bag of sweets 114% 30% 
Source: International Currency Exchange using data from airlines Jet2, easyJet, Ryanair, Flybe, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways, Aer Lingus, Monarch, flydubai, Norwegian. And train companies Virgin, Scot Rail, Cross Country Trains, South West Trains and Chiltern Railways     

For the average trainline snack prices the company recorded data from Virgin, Scot Rail, Cross Country Trains, South West Trains, Chiltern Railways, in the same month. 

Ice CEO Koko Sarkari said: 'This is one of the most competitive marketplaces in the world and with space at a premium you can certainly see why prices are higher at 30,000ft than at local convenience store.

'The airline mark ups on bottled water seem particularly steep since travellers are unable to bring liquids of over 100ml through airport security and will therefore need to purchase drinks in the departure lounge or on-board. 

Enough to sober you up: A 300ml can of beer had on average a 382 per cent mark up when bought in the sky compared to the supermarket

In February this year, MailOnline reported that a Kayak study highlighted the marking up of food on major budget airlines serving the UK, including Monarch, EasyJet, Ryanair, Thomas Cook, Jet2 and FlyBe.

It found that a 500ml bottle of still water on a Ryanair flight had a 1,324 per cent mark up, peanuts on a Monarch aircraft had a 1,254 per cent increase and olives on an Easyjet plane had a 1,159 per cent mark up.

But the airlines gave a robust defence at the time, with a spokesman from the British Air Transport Association commenting on behalf of Monarch and Jet2: 'This is a shoddy piece of "research" that does not compare like-with-like. Serving food and drink at 35,000ft involves many additional costs that supermarkets simply do not face.'

The spokesperson noted the convenience customers could enjoy in the sky comparing the mark ups to those expected for a refreshment service at a restaurant, hotel or cinema. 

Concurring, an Easyjet spokesman said: 'Comparing supermarket prices with on-board airline prices is not comparing like with like. Major supermarkets have huge economies of scale, lower cost prices and much lower supply chain costs than airlines which have to provide specialised loading in an airline environment.'

A spokesman for RyanAir added: 'Customers are free to buy our on board snacks or bring their own if they so wish. Either way, everybody saves time and money flying with Ryanair.' 


The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.