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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!?…
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Bramina 6:36 pm 03 Mar 12

thatsnotme said :

Bramina said :

The truth is that airlines are far and away the least profitable industry (well in Australia they are slightly profitable, but pretty much everywhere else they run at a loss).

A large part of the reason for this is that passengers screw airlines over big time (instead of airlines are screwing over passengers).

Yep, every time I buy a ticket to fly, head out to the airport, board the plane and take my seat for the flight to my chosen destination, I think ‘screw you airline, I win yet again!!’

Care to provide any actual examples of how passengers are screwing the airlines over? Is expecting the aircraft to take off AND land unreasonable? I’d just like to know why it’s in fact the passengers to blame for all of this?

Customers are very price sensitive – most consumers go online and choose whatever ticket happens to be cheapest even if it is below cost price (i.e. screwing the airline over).

The airlines are selling essentially the exact same product. They don’t have much ability to differentiate their products – people are basically buying a seat from point A to point B. All airlines fly from the same airports at the same speed.

Australia is a bit less competitive, so Airlines are slightly more profitable. The surcharge is a good trick for the airlines (not for the customers). People in the know can easily get around it, people who don’t know wouldn’t change their business because of the surcharge anyway.

Airlines are also hard pressed by their suppliers. They buy the same fuel and the same (or similar) planes. Some airlines also have unionised staff who screw them over for wages as well (Qantas).

We get royally screwed by lots of businesses, but airlines are not one of them.

dvaey 1:08 pm 03 Mar 12

schmeah said :

Does that fee amount to $7 if I buy 1 item and $14 if I buy 2? Sure, I’ve seen the signs at SOME stores; ‘using AMEX attracts a 2% surcharge’ .. but the airlines are just taking the piss.

I think the fee is around 3%, meaning that for a $4.50 charge, if your fare costs less than $150 then they make a profit off the difference between 3% and $4.50. If your fare costs more than $150, then they absorb the difference (or it is offset by the fares they make a profit on).

I guess it would be like if a fast-food delivery store added an extra $3 onto every order and offered free delivery, instead of charging $6 for delivery and no extra for pickup.

If you want to save the $6, then get it yourself … if you want to save the $4.50 then use a payment method which has fees attached to it.

Deref 8:19 am 03 Mar 12

How do they get away with it? Simple: inadequate consumer protection laws, inadequate policing of those that exist and inadequate penalties for breaches.

Airlines, like anyone else, can charge whatever they like – but this is intentionally deceptive.

Evil_Kitten 11:53 pm 02 Mar 12

Simmo said :

$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.

What was the issue on the Mac?

I have paid via Bpay on my Mac, but it was with Qantas.

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