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Airline surcharges; how do they get away with it!?…

By buildingquoteHQ - 1 March 2012 24

Whinge of the day warning!!!

When booking airfares on-line, as most of us do these days, we get slugged exorbitant fees on top of the airfare.  Can anyone give me a plausible reason why?… other than cause they can!

Virgin are charging $4.50 per guest per sector!  So for a family of 4 to travel return to Noosa for example (via Sydney or Brisbane) the credit card surcharges on top of the flights costs amount to $72!

Qantas charges $7.70 person, or $61.60 for a family of 4 to travel return to Sydney (at least they don’t charge per sector… yet!)

Bare in mind this payment is made in one transaction; so how is the number of people travelling or how many sectors they fly relevant?  I understand that service providers need to cover their costs but surely this is just taking the piss!

What’s Your opinion?


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24 Responses to
Airline surcharges; how do they get away with it!?…
allyroger 8:18 pm 01 Mar 12

I really feel strongly about this, to me its a cost of doing business. Check Virgin America or Virgin Atlantic and see what cc fees they charge. Zippy. Its against visa’s terms in the US to allow surcharges and when i lived in the US i never once got charged a surcharge anywhere. I also lived in the UK and again, yet to encounter a cc surcharge. Its just another example of the ACCC doing a terrible job for Aussie consumers. Don’t make me start at HN’s 0% financing offers (and all their hidden fees and different pricing) compared to what is offered in other countries.

Simmo 6:20 pm 01 Mar 12

$4.50 per sector may be close to the visa cost of about 2% if you are traveling first class, but for the majority of people travelling domestic routes it is a rip-off. I thought I’d try paying by Bpay with Virgin recently but their system is not up to working with a Mac computer. So you have to pay with a credit card. But since you have wasted your time trying to pay by CC they will then refund the $4.50 CC charge. However that involved a frustrating thirteen minute phone conversation to a call centre in a far-off country. Not really worth the call.

AKT 6:01 pm 01 Mar 12

schmeah said :

winter said :

I don’t really mind the credit card surcharge, after all they do get slugged with a hefty cost from visa/mastercard/amex.

so why can I use my credit card for every other transaction under the sun, online or otherwise and not have to part with $15 for a single purchase for 1 or 2 people?

Fools and their money are easily parted. You’re better off just Bpaying it .. it’s free (Air Aus bust aside).

All retailers who utilise Visa/MasterCard services get charged a fee by the relevant banks for this privelage. Some retailers opt to absorb this fee, whilst others choose to pass this on to the consumer

schmeah 5:12 pm 01 Mar 12

winter said :

I don’t really mind the credit card surcharge, after all they do get slugged with a hefty cost from visa/mastercard/amex.

so why can I use my credit card for every other transaction under the sun, online or otherwise and not have to part with $15 for a single purchase for 1 or 2 people?

Fools and their money are easily parted. You’re better off just Bpaying it .. it’s free (Air Aus bust aside).

Mess 3:32 pm 01 Mar 12

The Virgin site means per one way flight. So Canberra-Brisbane-Noosa is counted as a one way flight as it is a through connection, you will only get charged $4.50 for that.

buildingquoteHQ 1:56 pm 01 Mar 12

Mess said :

I think you may have done something wrong here. Virgin charge credit fees one way. So if you booked the flights as a through fare, eg Canberra-Sydney-Noosa, that would a $4.50 charge, and then $4.50 for the way home, $9 per person, so for a family of four that would be $36.

Credit card companies charge a percentage of of the amount of transaction in fees (usually around 1-2%), and airlines can’t absorb this cost, so they pass it onto the customer. So rather than charge you a percentage, they charge a fixed fee. Sometimes this will work in your favour, sometimes it won’t.

I’m not so sure; this is from the virgin website…?
“If making payment with a credit or debit card, a surcharge of 4.50 AUD per Guest per sector will be added to the total price of your booking at payment”

Thanks others for the BPay tip!

milkman 1:47 pm 01 Mar 12

Welcome to the free world. Don’t like it? Don’t fly.

Mess 1:16 pm 01 Mar 12

I think you may have done something wrong here. Virgin charge credit fees one way. So if you booked the flights as a through fare, eg Canberra-Sydney-Noosa, that would a $4.50 charge, and then $4.50 for the way home, $9 per person, so for a family of four that would be $36.

Credit card companies charge a percentage of of the amount of transaction in fees (usually around 1-2%), and airlines can’t absorb this cost, so they pass it onto the customer. So rather than charge you a percentage, they charge a fixed fee. Sometimes this will work in your favour, sometimes it won’t.

dvaey 1:13 pm 01 Mar 12

BallOfMonkey said :

Similar to movie theatres charging $1 fee per ticket to book online. Someone needs to explain to me why I should pay them for the privelage of doing their job for them.

Ticketek now has email delivery of tickets, at a cost of $7.60 .. the same charge as opting to receive the tickets by registered post.

Also makes me think of movie cinemas that charge a $3 surcharge for a 3D movie, then an extra $1 on top for the disposable glasses. Im surprised they dont offer unpopped popcorn, then offer it popped for only an extra $2.

As for why you have to pay a surcharge percentage if you use a credit card, just google for Interchange Fees.

BallOfMonkey 12:38 pm 01 Mar 12

Similar to movie theatres charging $1 fee per ticket to book online. Someone needs to explain to me why I should pay them for the privelage of doing their job for them.

winter 12:29 pm 01 Mar 12

I don’t really mind the credit card surcharge, after all they do get slugged with a hefty cost from visa/mastercard/amex.

frontrow 12:10 pm 01 Mar 12

I’ve used the BPay system on Virgin and it was fine. The caveat would be that the worst offenders are the dicount airlines on the brink of collapse. When AA collapsed you had a chance of getting your money back if you had paid by credit card. If you had paid by BPay it was gone.

schmeah 10:57 am 01 Mar 12

It’s pretty offensive. I can’t imagine a legitimate excuse.

I booked a flight for myself +1 some time ago – a direct flight to another capital city and got slugged with a $16 credit card feed.

If you BPay you avoid this cost alltogether, it’s more burdensome but if a family is travelling, you’d look to save about $60 .. so well worth it.

harvyk1 10:38 am 01 Mar 12

It’s just taking the piss, and there are many people \ organisations who are looking into this practice very closely, including the ACCC…

There are also alternatives such as using BPay to make the payments without any surcharges.

winter 10:31 am 01 Mar 12

I don’t understand why it’s not build into the base airfare charge. I think that if they advertise a price, then you should be able to fly at that exact price. Paying for extras on top of that is fine (better seats, food, carbon offset, whatever), but that should be an OPTIONAL extra charge.

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