17 August 2008

Air Travel -- Budget No More?

The rapidly rising fuel costs are ensuring that budget travel is not so budget anymore. Most airlines have already started to slug customers with a fuel surcharge in order to cover costs. The cynical among us might say that the reason is to ensure high profits. But perhaps those profit-oriented business types will say that companies have an obligation to shareholders and investors to provide a return on that investment.

I priced a ticket on Air Asia the other day. The ticket was cheap but the fuel surcharge doubled the price. I am not sure whether this works for all airlines but for Air Asia the simple math is to double whatever the published fare is and then you will have what you will have to pay.

The other income generator that is being implemented supposedly to offset rising fuel costs is one where passengers are slugged with a check-in baggage fee. This would seem to be a captive market considering most people travel for more than a few days and you cannot take liquids, gels and other sprays on board (they must be checked in). This will mean that most people will buy the liquids such as perfume, toothpaste, and deodorants on arrival. It will also mean that people will try and cram everything but the kitchen sink into their carry-on bag.

If you have ever been on an Indonesian airline you will know that people try and carry-on bags that only just fit into the overhead storage racks and clearly exceed the permissible carry-on size. This is worthy of another post because this is not the only insanity that flight attendants and ground staff seem to allow.

Anyway, it seems that Virgin Blue (photo) and Pacific Blue will be slugging passengers with a AUD 20 fee to check-in baggage from 1 September 2008. However, if you book and pay online for your check-in baggage then the fee is a mere AUD 8. You do, however, get to check-in up to 23 kilos. But, if you front up at the airport you will be hit with the flat AUD 20 fee. The excess baggage fee is AUD 8 per kilo.

I am looking forward to the "pay for weight" program being applied to people. The idea being that the fare you pay is based on how much you weigh. Now, this on face value would seem to be discriminatory against overweight and obese passengers. Yet, when you think about it the physics of the matter is that it presumably takes more fuel to move the heavier people from the ground and into the air. So, I guess, the question, "is if you are being charged based on how much it costs to move you, are you being discriminated against?"

What does this mean for budget travelers, shop around. There are still deals to be had even in these times of high fuel prices. When it is all said and done there is still more than one airline to choose from.

11 comments:

Goa said...

hey definitely the airlines should be in a position to offer some seats because they re the left over sears which are mere waste if they are not sole for some price rather going vacant.

Goa India

Rob Baiton said...

Goa...

Your comment seems to be spam. My post does not refer to vacant seats on planes...should I report you or something, or just wait for someone else to do it?

Have a nice weekend!

Anonymous said...

so big shirts should cost more too??

Rob Baiton said...

Anonymous...

That would fit the logic, don't you think?

Spa said...

true because airline seats are the most perishable goods.

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Rob Baiton said...

Spa...

Would this be because if you don't use them you lose them?

travel india tourism said...

nice information

Rob Baiton said...

travel india...

thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

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Rob Baiton said...

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Thanks

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