Thursday, April 22, 2010

Down with fees

I have great contempt for fees. Fees are just delayed costs meant to connive you into thinking you're getting a deal on something now, but you just end up paying later.

For just one example, an airline flight. It might only cost $300. But then there's the NavCan fee (to operate Canada's air navigation systems), a likely airport improvement fee (levied by various airports to fund expansions and renovations), and a federal security charge (to fund security personnel and security equipment). Sometimes there's also a fuel surcharge, when the price of aviation fuel goes up too much for the airline to swallow. It doesn't stop there. Now there are fees to check a second piece of luggage, and on some airlines even the first bag will cost you. Want to pick a specific seat, reserve by phone, change your reservation or just get a pillow? Ka-ching. Ka-ching. Eat? Ka-ching! Pee? It's coming......

If you want to put the fare up, put it up front. Even our Federal government wants airlines to disclose the final ticket price in their ads. In an ad for a flight from Vancouver to Newfoundland, one airline listed the price as $334. There was a big red asterisk. The fine print read, "That's one-way, of course, and doesn't include fuel surcharges, taxes and stuff. It's another $334 should you choose to return home." So after all of the fees are tacked on, the round-trip flight adds up to $903. That's not including cancellation insurance. That sounds a lot like $334, doesn't it?

"How badly do you want to go? $334? Good price eh? Sorry that's one way. How about $668? Come on.... you know you wanna... How about $700? Do I hear $800? $900? Your first born? Are you willing to stand? Can we see you naked first (for security reasons only)? Could you please empty your bladder before boarding? And take a deep breath? And bend over?


Andrew said...

I hear that this is more-so a Canadian problem. Apparently, there are some Northern US cities that are building larger airports to accommodate all the Canadians driving across the border to catch a flight from the US. It appears that US flights have MUCH lower taxes, and thus one can travel internationally for much cheaper.

Karl Plesz said...

It's true. Anyone within driving distance of a major US airport is driving to that airport to catch flights. My sister's family flew from Syracuse to Florida for much less than from Ottawa or Montreal.