Cunning Lingus

I’m used to Singapore Airlines’ all-inclusive pricing. You go to the website, it shows you the net price for your ticket, you say “gosh and bother that’s expensive” and “I have had it with these monkey-fighting snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane“, and then you click “BUY”.

I booked a couple of flights on Aer Lingus today – an open-jaw from London to Dublin, then from Cork back to London. (Watch this space.) And it was a very different experience.

The round-trip fare was fifteen quid. Brilliant! I’ll take it!

And then…

  • £65.70 of “taxes, fees and charges”;
  • £10.00 of “handling fees”. What are they handling when I’m booking online? Electrons? Very heavy electrons?;
  • £20.00 of “checked baggage fees”, because unlike SQ, they can’t handle one sodding bag;
  • £10.00 for “we have added travel insurance to your booking as a service to you, and will charge you unless you click ‘no’ to opt out”;
  • £4.00 for picking a seat. Unless you want an exit row, in which case that’ll be £20 for the round trip;
  • £8.00 “Fee Collection Fee”, to cover the costs of adding on all the other fees – oh, no, wait, I made that one up. But give it time.

Add it all up, minus the insurance and the seat selection costs (I can handle 90 minutes of being crammed into the Aer Lingus equivalent of seat 39K), and the fifteen-pound ticket comes to £110.70.

That works out to a 638% tax rate on the face value of the ticket.

Or, to put it another way – the round trip from London to Dublin costs about a quarter of the round trip from London to Singapore.

Sheesh. And people wonder why the airlines can’t turn a buck.

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