One Rant at a Time

Whatever heaves into view........better keep its head down.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Corporate Greed 1: Aer Lingus

Been a while, hasn't it. Sorry about that.

I flew to Ireland over the weekend, using Aer Lingus rather than Ryanair purely for convenience, but now I wish I'd gone with the upstart.

I paid £64 for my return ticket online, all taxes and charges included. Which is perfectly fine, and a very welcome cheap price too.

But when I got to the airport to check in, I was told that I'd be charged 8 euros to have my bag stowed in the cargo hold.


Yup, the lady said. New policy, check it out here on this nice laminated notice on the desk.

I managed to simultaneously scrape my jaw off the floor and pay the lady 8 euros, and wandered off to the gate, trying to arrange my thoughts into coherent strands.

So now Aer Lingus is charging us extra to carry our luggage? How the hell did they get that one past us?

After a while, I realized they are clever, clever people. Here's how I reckon they must have thought it through:

"The SLF (self-loading freight - what airlines refer to us mugs as) are caught between a rock and a hard place. They need to travel. They may want or need to spend more than a few nights away. So they will bring lots of liquids like shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, mouthwash.

"BUT, the SLF also know that under the new anti-terrorist rules they can't take more than 100 ml of any liquid in their carry-on luggage.

"So if they're going for more than an overnight trip or if they happen to be carrying a full jumbo tube of toothpaste, they'll have to check the bag into the cargo hold. Which is where we get them in their wallets. I reckon 8 euros should be enough: not too much, and yet not enough to make them want to discard all their liquids and buy them at the other end instead."

Cue cheers, celebrations and champagne and Guinness all round for the bright sparks in Aer Lingus marketing.

So, in a nutshell, Aer Lingus has decided that it's OK to gouge their passengers, knowing full well that we are only obeying the law of the land in the form of the anti-terrorist regulations.

Now, another point. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't the cost of a ticket supposed to cover the carriage of your luggage as well? When did that change and why didn't I get the memo?

What next? Charging us for the air they're recycling in flight?

I'm fairly confident that some day soon we'll tip up at the airport, clamber aboard the plane and take off, only to be told 30,000 feet over Bristol that the airfare we paid Aer Lingus three weeks ago only covered the first part of the journey, and unless we stump up another £70, we're going to have to disembark here. Now.

What's a far surer bet is that Aer Lingus will soon set up a shop in the arrivals terminal at Dublin, to sell us all manner of liquids that we dumped in London, just to avoid paying the thieving so-and-sos the 8 euros for the pleasure of having our bags stowed in the hold.