Thursday, 14 June 2012

Thought Picnic: It's an Airfares scam, at best


Robbed blind
A few weeks ago, I visited London flying in from Amsterdam. When I looked at the pricing structure that added up to the total cost for that ticket, I decided it was important that a documentation is made of the different tariffs to indicate what a travesty the charade of airfare pricing had become.


Beyond explanation
The figures above were the breakdown sent to me in the confirmation email for my flight, they appear to speak for themselves and there are the many questions that you will find yourself asking on observation.
For instance, the cost of the flight itself is less than 50% of the total cost, why do the add-ons exceed the primary or principal cost?
It becomes daunting when you realise as in the fourth column; a comparison to the cost of the flight itself. I have to pay a Carrier-imposed international surcharge which as you can see is over a quarter of the total cost and by comparison almost two-thirds of the amount I am paying for the flight.
Indeed, it is a black box
KLM offers a lengthy but rather vague explanation of what goes into making up that number.
Due to varying costs outside the control of KLM, the carrier will impose an international surcharge per flight segment both on the outbound and return trips as well as any intermediate flights. The range of the surcharge amounts may vary according to your itinerary. Complete details on applicable carrier imposed international surcharge per itinerary can be found on the klm.us booking tool, at the bottom of the 'Flight Overview' page where the total fare is given.
No, I am none the wiser as to why I have to pay this surcharge which is literally an indeterminate tax composed of costs outside the control of KLM as if the four other charges and the duty are not also outside the control of KLM apart from the booking fee.
For a long time, I have tried to understand the inscrutable conundrum of airfare costs and I must say it was better when you were clearly able to see the fuel surcharge and other atrocious rip-offs that set the aircraft industry out as an outlier to every concept of common-sense.
Air brigandage
Maybe I should spare a thought for those leaving a USA airport because by the time you have reviewed every element of fees, taxes and charges in addition to the ones we get fleeced off in Europe – those who feared the highwaymen of old would have been visited by the mile-high bandits of the Wild West of Europe across the pond.
According to that KLM website, the following types of fees are charged when leaving a USA airport:
  • US international transportation tax
  • US INS user fee
  • US customs user fee
  • US APHIS fee
  • USA passenger facility charge
  • USA passenger civil aviation security service fee

How do they get away with this?

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