More ridiculous airline charges

Spirit Airlines is an American ultra low cost carrier, and was the first American airline to charge passengers for taking hand luggage on board a flight.  Now the CEO of Spirit Ben Baldanza says they are looking at when they can charge passengers for talking to an employee at the airport.  Yes, that’s right, if you need to chat to the person at the check-in counter, you will pay for the privilege.  Spirit prefers its passengers to make bookings online, and already charges passengers who need to make a booking over the phone.

At present, airport technology isn’t good enough for Spirit to do away with airport counter staff altogether, although it is getting that way, and when it does, Spirit will make passengers pay.

The days when you don’t encounter a human at check-in are getting closer.  Qantas has introduced its new Q-card system at its Perth Domestic Terminal.  Qantas Frequent Flyers simply swipe their Q-card against a Q-card Reader and they are checked in automatically, the Q-card then acting as a boarding pass. If passengers have bags, they can print and attach their own bag tag before proceeding to a new designated bag drop facility.  This system is designed to speed up check-in and do away with long queues.

Ryanair, the European carrier and one of the stingiest of the world’s airlines already charges up to $60 to print a boarding pass for those who haven’t done it on a computer elsewhere.

Of course, with a bit of planning passengers don’t have to become slaves to the budget airlines unfair charges policies.  Full service airlines often sell cheap fares, all you need do is book them well ahead of travel.  I recent bought some really cheap fares on Qantas flying Perth to Sydney, and then Sydney Brisbane and Brisbane back to Perth, simply by purchasing their advanced fare tickets.  As a full service airline they allow me up to 23kg per person luggage, there is generally more room in their seats, I get to use their entertainment system, and they provide meals and drink, plus I get frequent flyer points.  Not a bad incentive for giving those over-charging budget airlines the finger, just by booking with a better airline.

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