Monday, September 29, 2008

There is no such thing as a free lunch - or ticket............?

In April I attended a Conference at one of the large ships that daily cruise between Oslo and Copenhagen operated by the DFDS shipping company. I had the most exquisite experience in a Commodore De-Luxe Cabin, and I could not complain on either the service or standard. As the participants at the conference had left a large sum on travel and entertainment to the owners of DFDS, the shipping company offered all participants a free ticket with options to bring one extra traveller for the exceptional price of NOK 348 (€44). As I was to book my trip in October I found that there are much truth in the saying “There is no such thing as a free lunch”, or here “free ticket.”

The ticket clearly states that within the period lasting until November 1st, I would travel for free in an exterior cabin and could bring one extra at a discount price. As I am unmarried, traveling alone is an option, and as I am busy more or less every weekend until November 1st, I had to hurry up and book.

As I called DFDS customer service I found that the price of the cabin was NOK 348,- even if I travelled “free” i.e. by myself. And when the officer started talking of a reservation fee of NOK 125,- it all started to sound too ridiculous. A free ticket for NOK 473,-? That is not free for me, it is a paid trip. A free ticket is free for the one it is issued for. It told her clearly what that was all about, a discriminatory marketing practice intending to mislead a customer that he/she would get something free when he/she in fact would have to pay for it after all.

I am still working to find anyone to travel with me and pay NOK 348,- which is cheap when travelling two. If I am to pay that sum I’d rather book a “free” one-way flight with Norwegian Air Shuttle to Vilnius for the same sum, and pay for the return. That is far more honest after all. No hidden fees or taxes as hidden behind the promising invitation to a low-price boat cruise to Copenhagen. Low price, as you usually pay for food and drinks, and shop for Duty Free goods on board leaving money in the pocket of the shipping company.

We’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you posted........

PS: I’ll notify the company that this article is on the net.

More ferry stories

Read on the new super ferries going from Kristiansand and Larvik to the continent

Read more on Ferry Services from Europe to Norwegian ports here

More on DFDS services

Read more on the DFDS Commodore De-Luxe Cabin Experience on board Pearl of Scandinavia 2008 here

Read more on the DFDS Commodore Cabin experience on board Pearl of Scandinavia 2007 here

Read more on the DFDS tourist class cabin experience on board Crown of Scandinavia here

1 comment:

Armen Cyrus said...

Hi,

Awesome travel story, thanks a lot for sharing the information...