Our email inbox is getting flooded by all kinds of advertising and promotional material such as cut-rate online sales and free gift certificates worth several thousands if you apply for a loan. One of the most tempting, however, are promos coming from airlines offering low “all-in” fares – which seem perfect considering that the holiday season is drawing nearer and you have yet to decide where to go and where to stay.
These promos sound good especially for budget-minded travelers who have been saving up for a vacation. However, make sure that these promos are not misleading because instead of a dream holiday that you have been longing for, you might end up getting “bad trip.”
Not to sound like a party pooper here, but better check the restrictions or limitations that accompany such promo deals. For instance, does the “all-in” promo include travel taxes, fuel surcharges and other fees? Make sure these are disclosed or declared because you might end up having to pay these “hidden costs” when you get to the airport – in the process taking a big bite out of your budget and ruining your vacation even before it starts. Some even got offloaded because of the practice of airlines to overbook, so read the small print before you purchase that ticket.
While budget airlines have done a lot to bring down the cost of airline tickets and make travel by plane an option for more Filipinos, many passengers complain about poor service and less than satisfactory travel experience. One even told us that he feels “budget” is a misnomer because he ends up paying more in the end. For instance, the baggage allowance is very minimal so if you’re the type who has difficulty traveling light, you shell out more for extra kilos of baggage.
You may also have to pay extra for insurance since it is not included in the airfare, and food or snacks are no longer served on certain airlines. So if you missed breakfast or skipped lunch before the flight, tough luck. You could buy chips or a bottle of mineral water but they are priced like five-star hotel fare (like a hundred bucks for a small bag of locally manufactured chips).
Just recently, United Airlines introduced the “basic economy” category in an obvious bid to get a chunk out of the budget market. The only problem with this discount fare is that passengers will not be allowed to bring carry-on luggage with size bigger than a laptop bag. What’s more, passengers buying the discounted fare cannot choose their seat and will be the last to board the plane. And if you want to upgrade – sorry, but no.
No wonder the reaction from the traveling public has been, as one report said, “fast, furious and overwhelmingly negative.” Imagine, you will be made to feel like a last priority passenger? Apparently, United thought they were doing budget-conscious passengers a favor since the latter would experience the airline’s outstanding onboard amenities and “great customer service.” Passengers certainly disagree on that last part, considering that bringing carry-on luggage (that conform to standard size), getting to choose seats (if you check-in early online) and boarding the plane according to the line are simple concessions that count for good customer service.
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