When I wrote earlier this month about the high levels of taxes and charges being added to air tickets, it unleashed a barrage of emails from frustrated travellers. Foremost in their sights was our national carrier and the greatest source of angst was being slugged with massive taxes and charges when booking frequent flyer reward seats.
One traveller reported being quoted $437 in taxes and charges on an international frequent flyer seat to Bali with Qantas when he could book a complete airfare for $569 – just $132 more. Another was quoted $479 in taxes and charges for a Qantas frequent flyer seat to Los Angeles and back when he could buy an all-inclusive fare on another airline for $1159. ”It is reasonable to note that the trip is still costing less than if I had to buy the tickets, but this matter of fees and charges is simply outrageous,” he says.
Perhaps the most interesting example, although it relates to a paid ticket rather than a frequent flyer booking, is a traveller who was quoted $820 to take an infant – without a seat – from Sydney to Los Angeles and back. Similar flights on Virgin Australia had infant charges amounting to $111 for the return journey.
When the traveller queried the $820 quote with Qantas, the airline wrote back saying the cost comprised 10 per cent of an adult fare (the standard charge for an infant travelling without a seat) with the balance being “taxes”. ”It’s actually not the first time I feel like I’ve been burnt by Qantas and their ridiculous charges relative to other carriers, but it’s going to be the last,” the traveller said.
The crux of the issue is the size of fuel surcharges being levied by Qantas and its decision to apply those to frequent flyer redemption seats as well as paid tickets. Qantas has increased its fuel surcharges twice since the start of the year, with passengers now paying as much as… (click here to keep reading this article by Jane E. Fraser)