Wednesday, September 24, 2008

There's No Such Thing as a Free Flight

Everyone knows that there is no such thing as a free lunch. I know this. I've heard it from my parents and told it to my children. So why did I waste an hour of my time chasing an illusion?

I was supposed to be working on an article for my church magazine but found it hard going and decided to reward myself with a bit of distracting email. In my inbox was this weeks Top 20 travel deals from Travelzoo where the editors comb hundreds of companies for their best sales and offers. It’s a bit of middle class travel porn, fun to look at but I’ve never been tempted to do more than that.

Then one of those offers from Ryanair caught my eye

£0.02 return flights to Europe including ALL taxes.

Wow, I wonder where you can go? Maybe I’ll surprise the editor with a quick trip somewhere if it really is only £0.02 per round trip flight.

I do lots of research and spend lots of time doing it. Then I decide I will only use the airport close to our home in southwest London because the expense and hassle of getting to the northern airports ruins the fun and savings. This pretty much limits our options to Ireland. So I find some free flights to Dublin, spend lots of time filling out stuff and declining the extra charges for priority boarding, luggage and travel insurance. I confirm that I am a citizen of an EU country and have the docs to prove it (you can’t check in online unless you are, otherwise, there is a charge for airport check-in). I provide all my credit card details and then, Ryanair hits me up with £16.04 of handling charges for using a credit or debit card – or any card for that matter.

OK, I've had enough. I exit the Ryanair site having successfully wasted an hour and not bought any free tickets which really cost £16.04.
You were right Dad, about a lot of stuff and especially about those lunches.
Image courtesy of the San Diego Zoo website.

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