Much has been made of the hilarious spoof ad from Air New Zealand about low cost airlines.
The airline is right about some of the cons, I mean hidden costs associated with budget airlines.
But there is an even bigger rip-off merchant out there. Not the budget airline, but rather government!
As you know, I have just flown to Prague from Leeds Bradford using a budget airline called Jet2.
Now, the fare posted on the website was around £25 each way, making around £50 for the round trip, or rather £150 for the three of us, which is indeed a bargain.
However! There was also a voluntary charge af around £4 a head because we decided we wanted to book our seats so we could all sit together. There was also a couple of quid to pay using a credit card and another couple of quid as a booking fee! But most disturbingly was a suprise £40 or so charge as a fuel supplement. We also paid £21 for insurance.
There was also government tax so altogether, the bill for three return trips to Prague became £370. Still just over £120 a head wasn't bad.
Nonetheless, we still need to look at government. And government taxes, GST/VAT aside tend to be flat rate, so the same tax will be paid if your Ryanaiir flight costs a penny or £100.
Let us look at other real examples.
What could be nicer than a couple of days in Amsterdam.
Lets look at the website. Leaving Feb 23 , returning Feb 25. Fares 99 pence each way!
But look, there is then a further £49 in taxes!!! What percentage is this? A horrendous amount. What other product has taxes running into several thousand per cent.
Let's pop over to Ryannair then! Whose on for Dublin then? Again 99p fares. But again look at the taxes and fees, which now pushes a £2 return fare to over £55. Still, not a bad deal, but again, see how government is ripping people off. Can such taxes be avoided? No! Even for a domestic flight to Belfast we have £28 in taxes on top of £2 for the flight.
Europe along with many places was beginning to enjoy the though of supercheap airfares but look how government spoils it with such charges.
It's the same with cars. In New Zealand we hear the various taxes amount to half the price of a litre of petrol. In the UK, it used to be around 75-80% until petrol rocketed up in price over the past year. Last week , i read that the UK government takes £45 billion in tax from motorists, but just spends £9 billion on roads. The burden rises yearly and even in 2003, the motorist was responsible for a tenth of government revenues.
Think about it. there is the excise duty on petrol, GST/VAT on petrol, as well as GST on the price of a car, as well as the annual road tax/ vehicle excise duty. A nice little earner.
Indeed, who else is exploited more by government but the motorist or the air passenger?
Yes, Air New Zealand is right in raising the hidden charges of the 'low-cost' airlines, no doubt as a sign of its concern at the business it is losing to them. But the real enemy for the motorist or the air passenger is government. Why do we let them exploit us to such an appauling extent?