Cheap flights are a dream come true especially for those belonging to the middle classes who could not otherwise afford the flight packages of a few decades ago, which included services and accommodation only worthy of the well-off. Not too long ago, air travel was both a luxury and a privilege.
What brought airlines to this seemingly degenerated state? Wait a minute. Did we hear it right? Degenerated? Not at all. Factors of practical foundations have brought about such a happy opportunity, mostly borne out of competition. You will find these practical factors in the rundown below:
• Lighter aircraft that effectively saves on fuel.
• No-frills flights – no free food, snacks or drinks served.
• Additional revenues in sales of food, drinks and snacks in-flight.
• Multiple-tasked attendants and employees.
• Basic transport amenities assuring only up to the comfort level of the passenger.
• Uncomplicated aircraft facilities that spell out lower acquisition and maintenance costs.
• No connecting-flight services – point-to-point travel route only.
• Destinations and ports served are secondary classifications that therefore exact lower landing fees.
• Internet booking and ticket purchase eliminating commissions and fees for travel agents.
That does mean that the wealthy (but not wealthy enough to purchase/own and maintain his own jet) can no longer enjoy the deluxe amenities and services he used to enjoy? Wrong again. Airlines have maintained the status quo. These special services are still made available in particular flights – business class, first class and other names in regional colour.
Travel agents still package these type of services to those who can afford them, including arrangements for hotels, tours, car and taxi services. Name it, you have it – at the right price. Of course, these wealthy clients still haggle (who will not?). Reason why travel agencies arrange and offer competitive packages. At “reasonable” rates. But still, in the end, they come out at ranges unaffordable to the middle classes.
Take, for example, the following round-trip airfare costs (in USD) from Hong Kong to Bali and back, plucked from one travel website in comparative analysis:
Lower End $429-666
High End $2,133
Lower End $10,127
High End $16,364
Lower End $12,120
High End $38,010
The almost “sinful” difference between the cheap flight and first class flight rates demonstrates a gaping chasm between the poor-to-middle-class and the rich, in terms of economic range. While the rich can and may use the cheap flights, it is not so, maybe impossible, for the poor and middle classes to cross over to first class.
If I may ask you, whatever your stature in life is, which would prefer?