Monday - Aug 21, 2017

Did you say low cost?

Did you say low cost

These days, low cost airfares are all the rage! Long distance travelling has become so much more accessible with the rise of budget airline companies. A trip from Melbourne to London is advertised at around a thousand bucks, and travel within the European Union is even cheaper. Round The World (RTW) flights with discount airlines are also especially attractive for individuals who have been bitten by the travel bug.

While these low cost carriers offer very attractive packages, there is a catch! It is important for consumers to be shrewd in purchasing low cost airfares, as a low cost flight might turn out to be not so cheap after all the additional charges are taken into account.

So, what are some of the additional charges associated with low-budget flights? The biggest culprit we all know of is airport tax, otherwise known as air passenger duty (APD). In the UK, flight taxes have been increased by tenfold by the UK government since the introduction of APD. In fact, in major travel destinations all over the world, airport taxes add a major expense to your initially attractive low cost flight.

After adding airport taxes, you would also need to take into account travel costs to and from the airport. Taxi charges do not come by cheap, and in cities where public transport is limited during odd hours, you will inevitably have to take a cab if you are flying.

For individuals flying out of France on an economy class ticket, a 4€ APD is charged for a long distance flight. If you are travelling on a business class ticket or above, this charge goes up to 40€. While this money is used to finance AIDS treatment, it is still a considerable sum to pay!

In Hong Kong, airport departure tax for adults costs HK$80. Red taxis charge a rate beginning at HK$16.50, plus HK$1.60 for every 200m after the first 2km. Any additional luggage will cost you another HK$5 per piece, and don’t forget tipping charges! When you factor all that in, low cost definitely does not seem so low anymore.

Next, we look at New York. JFK airport is 24km away from Manhattan. The flat fare for 1 to 4 passengers from airport to Manhattan is priced at USD$45 excluding toll fees and tipping charges. Airport tax varies according to flights.

In Tokyo, airport tax costs around ¥2040. Also, note that Tokyo Narita International Airport is located 70 km away from the city, which is a fair distance to cover. Yes, you can choose to take the JR Narita Express (NEX) from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station. The one way journey costs 3000 yen and takes roughly one hour. However, remember that Japan’s efficient public transport system still shuts down at night, and you would be left with no choice but to catch a cab. Fares start at 600-700 yen for the first 2km, and increase by 100 yen for every additional 500m. Evening rates are higher by 20-30 per cent.

As you can see, your 1 dollar discounted flight is never going to cost you just 1 buck. After you factor in airport taxes, credit card fees, taxi charges, and so on, you will realize what a huge expense you have actually managed to put on your tab – all growing just from a single dollar!

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