Budget Airlines and Stupid Charges

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If you’ve traveled around a bit, you’ve no doubt been on a budget airline at some point or are at least acutely aware of them. These are the airlines born in Europe with airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir, that have become a huge hit in places like Asia with the uncanny Air Asia. Several others have popped up around the world and they’ve even attempted in the US but to no real avail. As I am in Mexico right now I am looking into buying tickets to travel around the country, specifically to Cancun. Obviously, I did a search for the majors and the price is around $350 from where I am in Monterrey. So I turned to the Mexican budget airline called Viva Aerobus. I have been told they were pretty cheap and I was hoping to save some money on the flight. However, that would be too easy and I am in Mexico afterall.

The round trip flight to Cancun was supposed to be $50 for the first leg and $60 for the return leg which was more than reasonable and I was excited about my savings. However, when I went to the confirmation screen I was berated with charges. First, taxes were about $220 for a flight that should’ve cost $110. Hmmmmm. Then to make matters even more insulting, if you want to buy the tickets with your credit card they charge you an $8 fee. Keep in mind there is no other way to buy a ticket online. Then they charge you if you are going to bring a bag $12 and if you wish for online check-in that’ll be another $10. And if you have the nerve to ask for priority check-in, that’ll be another $15, which brings the grand total up to a huge number way more than AeroMexico or Mexicana. So I am not sure who would ever fly that route as you still have a layover in Mexico City.

This is lunacy to me and I don’t get it. As someone just said to me, I thought Mexico was supposed to be cheap and my reply was that the cheap in Mexico is very cheap but they extort tourism and tourism related costs, such as hotels and air tickets to the enth degree. I am a little annoyed about the whole situation and will probably end up paying the full fare to avoid all the little nitpicky fees which really piss you off, plus with Mexicana or AeroMexico I can get priority because they are American and Delta partners respectively.

Whatever happened to the good old days of budget airlines when flights were practically free and you just had to pay like $20 in taxes. Easyjet and Air Asia really have it right and budget airlines around the world should look at their models. I understand no frills and the benefits and cost savings but nothing pisses people off more than little nickel and dime fees. This is something that the majors in the US are going to find out with them charging for seats and bags now, plus food and drinks. This pisses people off and for Viva Aerobus to charge double the price in taxes is crazy. They have a bad reputation anyway as I’ve heard and I can see why, and I’d rather not find out in the air.

Comments

  1. I flew that crappy Mexican airline. It is a major shakedown and they do suck so be happy you didn’t fly them.

  2. We flew Air Asia from Bangkok to Chaing Mai, price was fine but they decided to not turn on the air conditioning, keep in mind it was the middle of August.

  3. I’m planning Mexico trip and this airline called Volaris (http://www.volaris.com.mx) seems to reasonable with the fares and charges. Pretty good compared to the major airlines which now also charge for extras like baggage.

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