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When I get time, I listen to music, or read books. If any is left, I blog!

Thursday 19 September 2013

Fair And Unfair Faces Of An Airfare

This isn't about flying, but the business of flying.

In five years ending 2013, airline operators in India have run up a loss of 8.5 billion USD. Their accumulated debts stand at 15.00 billion USD. The question is: 'Which is going to fly higher – the plane or the plane fare?' Those who continue to subsidise the economics of mismanagement would know better!

This time around what is amusing is 'Unbundling', a semantic striptease where amenities, part of the air fare once, are being shed one by one. A quarter of the free baggage allowance has vanished. Sports, Musical, and other items now attract additional charges. Preferred seats aren't free options any more. On board, drinks (except water), snacks, and meals have to be purchased. It costs to stretch your legs in airlines' lounges. And think twice before cancelling your tickets.

If you dislike sitting next to babies, a 'Quiet Zone' may soon be available as an upgrade. Rule out taking a catnap, as on-board 'Sampling' sessions could wake you up with give-away sachets of shampoo or shaving cream!

Unlike this, Samoa Airways, which operate flights between the Independent State of Samoa and American Samoa have been innovative. They recently introduced a 'Fly-by-Weight' fare structure. Originally suggested by Dr Bharat Bhatta from Norway, the scheme sums up the cost of a ticket from the passenger's body weight, weight of the luggage carried, and length of the flight.  For the obese and over-weight, this would indeed be a worthwhile incentive!

'Unbundling' has to be 'bundled up' at the earliest. It is both confusing and unfair. If allowed to continue, the day when greedy airlines levy 'lavatory charges' may not be far away!

   "If the Wright brothers were alive today,
Wilbur would've had to fire Orville to reduce costs"
 — Herb Kelleher, USA Today