Saturday, 24 November 2007

Air Asia is holding your money for safe keeping. They didn't mention it? You didn't know?

Air Asia EXPOSED - Part One

I watched a BBC TV article reporting that a European Commission study has found that airline websites commonly mislead the consumer. Hmmm ... now tell us something we didn't know.

The main infringements were false advertising and marketing: prices that did not include taxes and charges, "free" flights that were not free and nonexistent cheap seats. Sound familiar? Remarkably, opposition to Air Asia seems to have gone quiet. Perhaps it was as a result of a Malaysian government inquiry in '04 where the airline was given the 'all-clear' - according to a highlighted press release on AirAsia’s website.

Misrepresentation-interpretation Malaysian style.

Air Asia's typically aimless PR, post-tribunal:

"AirAsia’s advertisements are similar to those used by other low fares foreign airlines such as EasyJet, RyanAir and Virgin Blue, which are governed by stricter advertising guidelines in their respective countries."

So that's one rule for the rest of the civilized world and a watered down one for Malaysia? It is not unusual for some commentators in Malaysia to fall back on its 'developing nation' status - I'll never forget Dr M's parting shots in his final address to the world - but using it in regard to ethics? I hope you didn't miss the bit about their highest fare still being 20% less than full-service airlines. You decide if cut-price Air Asia is worth the pain.

The upshot of the European Commission? Its laws state that it is illegal for airlines to leave airport taxes, fuel fees and other charges off their advertised fares. Let's not even go there with Air Asia. I can just hear it: "Steady on there! The information's there in the copy." No, it's your bog standard 'fine print' - and there shouldn't be fine print.

Air Asia X ... or Air Asia Y?

If a flight costs $X then tell it as it is!

At the end of the day, we must respect the Malaysian tribunal, the tight packed envelope of Datos' saw nothing at all suspicious or untoward. Bottom line is that Air Asia brings bags of this to the table ... as in, to the Malaysian economy. I would hasten to add, I am not inferring impropriety. Not Malaysia!

No punishment? No caution?
How about no pudding and
early to bed?

Anyway, I started thinking about money and how it corrupts. Ever wondered what happens to those taxes
and surcharges when we miss a flight? [The extras that make your free flights not free.] As usual, I jumped on the Net. It took a hell of lot of finding, but there it was.

[.. to be continued]

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