Kevin Myers: Ryanomics is seeping into society like sewage
Published 09/11/2011 | 17:00
THE offer looked good on the Aer Lingus website: two fares to London. Cost? No cost. Free of charge; just one of those insane little gimmicks that airlines do these days to entice passengers aboard, and once there, we can maybe be persuaded to part with our cash on a breakfast roll for €200.
The trick is not to buy the breakfast roll, of course. So we decided to buy the tickets to London. And that's where it got interesting, because as the sale proceeded, so the taxes appeared: €67.98 per passenger. And oh yes, a handling fee; €12 per passenger. The zero air-fares ended up costing a couple of farthings under €160.00
Now this is seriously, gravely, disgustingly wrong. Yet it is part of the airline morality that is seeping out into society like sewage; the bolt-on charges that only become apparent after you have psychologically embarked on the decision to purchase tickets. And they know this: they know that people are unlikely to back out of a deal, even as the charges accumulate, because that's the way of snake-oil salesmen down the ages. Draw the sucker on. He'll keep coming. Yes, he'll even accept this risible piece of internet mugging, the "handling charge", though at best, it logically should be exacted for each transaction only, rather than be applied to every single ticket within that transaction. And do you know what's just as bad as the surcharging? The sense of being done, of being made a sucker of, of being treated with a studied, methodical and deliberate contempt. This is the internet's equivalent of the burglar having a crap on your carpet.