High Price of Flying

in Case Study, Service Fees

This is from a very long time ago when I worked at Nortel, but the price of flying continues to be a royal pain in the arse.

My company used to have a travel department, where people booked trips for you, found the best deals, but also discussed with you about how you wanted your travel to work. This task was then outsourced and is now being run by Amex Travel, which has a Web Portal that all travel booking must be done through. The booking of the trip is chocked full of questions and then it gives you a staggering array of choices and decisions about cheaper flights and such, which I usually ignore, and then get a nasty note saying I am not playing nicely, but that is for another posting.

This week’s one day travel’s costs were:

  • Air Fare alone was $356  which isn’t too bad given I booked fairly late, and I was only doing a day trip.
  • Add on a $10 Air Transport Tax
  • Add $20 in GST
  • Add $35 Airport Improvement Fee
  • And you end up with $420.94 total cost
  • Whoops forgot there is an $8 service fee that Amex travel throws on top of this, that you only see on your credit card later.

Fine, I had to travel and I had to pay, so I booked it. Away we went, our meetings went well and we finished early, so then we tried come home on an earlier flight. There was room on an earlier flight, but due to the type of the flight booked, I had to pay a $55.00 re-booking fee on top of all of this.

I am in the wrong business, airline travel has more hidden fees and tricks than the Mutual Fund business (OK maybe not, but it feels that way). Luckily I didn’t pay for this out of my own pocket, but now I know why I don’t fly places any more.

I grow weary of losing money $2 at a time on all the service fees thrown on top of the original price of things. Can’t someone just quote me a price and then not kill me adding more to it?

{ 2 comments }

  • Zan June 6, 2008, 1:15 PM

    Sounds more like you’re choked at how the pricing itself is published, and not the actual cost of flying.

    How do you calculate the value that you or your company derived from this trip? Were you able to generate/retain more than $484 worth of business from the meeting?

    A company maintains a safe, reliable network of transportation, available effectively on demand between the cities of your choice, operating in virtually any weather, that you can allow you to meet with a client several hundreds of kilometers away within the same day…for only $484?!

    I think that is well within reason, and certainly blows any other form of transportation off the map in terms of the time value of money.

    Reply
  • DAvid June 2, 2008, 7:13 PM

    I think there’s a balance. We are traveling across the country, and the airfare for two of us is cheaper than the gas it would take to drive there and back. Add in ferry & hotel and meals, and the airfare seems cheap by comparison. I agree that short haul flights seem expensive, but that may be more due to landing fees, etc than costs to keep th aircraft in the air.

    DAvid

    Reply

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