The figures are from Kuoni's annual report on luxury travel, published this week, which underscores the importance of both the internet and no-frills airlines even at the top of the market.

The company, best-known for long-haul travel, is expanding in Europe. As part of a new "World Class Europe" programme including everything from city breaks to holidays on a chartered barge complete with chef, it will, for the first time, use some no-frills airlines alongside scheduled carriers, business-class airlines and private jets.

The embracing of no-frills airlines is in part a response to complaints about congestion and lengthy queues at London airports. Customers want to fly from smaller, quieter airports closer to home, many of which are hubs for no-frills carriers.

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