Exploiting passengers and holidaymakers seems to be the mission statement for the travel industry. Today we hear that some rail companies will make it easier for travelers to get the cheapest fare from later in the year, but not all of them.
The way fares are currently charged means that passengers often pay three or four times as much as they need to. Especially those who buy from the ticket machines.
I abandoned the ticket machines in Sussex that never offer the cheapest fare a long time ago and always queue up to buy the best deals or buy online saves money even for short journeys. If you are traveling across the country more research is needed to work out whether it is cheaper to book one journey or several separate tickets to take the best advantage of off peak and super off-peak and rail cards.
Airlines charging extraordinary amounts
Meanwhile airlines are still making hay and charging extraordinary amounts for those who want to travel during the school holidays. The Supreme Court has reserved its decision on whether parents whose children have a good attendance record can take them on holiday in term time.
With half term in a couple of weeks research by FairFX has discovered that flights can cost nine times as much in half term as two weeks later. The company checked 120 flight routes and found many that were three, four and five times the normal cost for February. The travel industry claims the prices are higher because there is greater demand.
They could get round this – if they are not trying to rip-off parents - by charging the same rate through February and when the tickets are sold they are gone, or even better put on a few extra flights at times of high demand.
Charging nine times the normal fare
The biggest cost rise was from East Midlands airport to Venice, which increased from £43 to £406 – nine times more expensive. Edinburgh to New York cost £2,310 compared to £351 a week earlier. There are similar increases on holiday packages.
Passengers also need to know that if their flight is delayed by three hours they will be able to get compensation of 300 – 600 euros per person. It is worth the effort of making the claim even though most claims are turned down first time, but persistence pays off.
Trains pay compensation related to the fare paid and it is reckoned that some £100m goes unclaimed each year. Collect delay repay forms when you buy your tickets or go online every time you are delayed more than 15 minutes.