Thursday, March 12, 2009

War of the skies - new costs to look out for

Airlines are cutting costs to stay in business. This will affect service on board, as every carrier will let you pay for what used to be free. We did not complain when the free food disappeared, as you may bring your own. Some of the latest costs may be more irritating, and may be perceived as mean by the passengers. Airlines should remember that there are limits to what passengers will accept. Here are a few examples. Would you react to these? I would!!

Going to the toilet? Two euros please!

Going to the toilet while being 33000 feet over earth’s crust may be an uncomfortable experience. You are crammed into a tiny space while you are forced to do the bare necessities, under turbulent conditions. These visits are not the things you would gladly pay for, and I think most airlines do agree – except Ryanair!

Ryanairs boss is the master of pricing their services, piece by piece. If you pay one euro or two for a ticket, paying the same price for a visit to the toilet would, according to O'Leary, not matter, but when paying for additional booking, seats, luggage, hand luggage, having to pay a Euro to go to the loo, is closer to a no go area.

For those of you that may think I am joking, I am not. Ryanair is seriously considering letting you pay to go to the toilet on board from April 1st. You may book the number of visits ahead on the net, and if you either suffer from prostate problems or if you are a frequent flyer, you may buy a prepaid card. If you book on the net you get two visits for the price of one.

I have to say that this is certainly one of the most stupid ideas ever!!! I sincerely hope fliers will use their power, and allow Ryanair to fly with empty planes. Pecunia non olet!!

Would you like a blanket? 800 krónur please

I love Icelandair, so I am sad to tell when they have a seriously bad idea. Icelandair has the best connection to the US, and the airline should try to make a serious effort to keep guests loyalty to this very competitive service. The airline has however been tempted to charge you for blankets and pillows, through their new travel package.

What is a nicer thing to have, when gliding in the sky at cruising altitude than a blanket to cling to, and allowing your head to rest on a soft pillow. It is stupid to charge anyone5 Euros or 800 Icelandic krónur for these objects of consolation and comfort, even though you are allowed to keep them afterwards.

Who would fill up the valuable space of your hand luggage with a pillow and a blanket? Most of us would rather cruise without these necessities, but it would not be the same experience.

So a serious prayer to the Icelandair management, it may give a few extra euros income, but you risk losing more in traveler loyalty and sympathy.

Ryanair enforce new rules on luggage and hand luggage

I am losing my sympathy with Ryanair. There is no end to the creativity of its founder Michael O’Leary to cut costs for the airline or charging you with new inventive fees. The two areas Ryanair will target now is check in of luggage and the amount of hand luggage allowed on board.

The world according to Ryanair would be passengers travelling to their destinations with one small piece of hand luggage, and they are working hard to force the traveler into its image . First they are removing all check-in points, replacing them with check-in machines and luggage drop. This is not the worst of their ideas, but a step that many airlines has taken to reduce costs. They will also open the net for check-in. This may be a win-win for the airline and the passengers.

When it comes to hand luggage the airline will vehemently enforce a strict one piece of hand luggage – only! This would be reasonable if travelers try to bring oversized luggage on the plane.

If you, however, should choose to do some tax-free shopping – be aware, you may be fined by Ryanair for those extra shopping bags. The airline police will enforce a one piece of hand luggage in such a manner that you risk leaving the bottles of wine, spirits and cigarettes you bought or pay 40 Euros to the airline. If you do not accept this policy they may refuse entry to the plane - and future flights.

There is only one thing to say to this, my fellow travelers. This airlines deserves bankruptcy, and I am glad to say, with a 110 million Euro deficit for the three last quarters of 2008, that Ryanair is on its way there. Good riddens!! Let us have budget airlines that respect their travelers. Air Berlin may be a good example. They even serve food on their flights – free!

If that was not enough, Ryanair will make some of their services luggage free, that means that you will only be allowed you 10 kilo hand luggage on board. Who travels on vacation with one piece of hand luggage – only? I do not, and I do not intend to.

Even budget airlines live off their passengers, and there are definitely limits to what they may do, in order to save money. I would rather pay a price that involves a service that is predictable, and does not involve hidden costs and passenger harassment. Ryanair is certainly not an airline to be trusted in that respect.

(Photo: Ruthann)

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