COMPLAINT: JAL - Infant pricing policy

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Old Jul 8, 2008, 4:12 PM
kajilau kajilau is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1

I just recently purchased a roundtrip ticket through Japan Airlines for myself, my wife, and our 1.5 year old daughter to fly to Japan this November to visit my in-laws.

Our ticket before the tax and fuel surcharge was $765, after surcharge it jumped up to $1120 per person. Our daughter's ticket, as she was under two and will be sitting on our laps is 10% of our ticket, so it was only $80 (our original cost was $800 but we got a discount for a group booking), but after the tax and fuel charge, it jumped up to $494. While I realize that high gas costs have forced the airlines to raise their prices, I just don't understand how and airline can justify imposing a $414 surcharge on a $80 ticket for a child that weighs less than most carry on luggage (our daughter is petite and weighs slightly under 20lbs and is doubtful she will gain more than 2 pounds by November).

Now this is not much of a complaint, but I would like to know how and why the airlines come up with such pricing as to impose a 300% markup charge on a baby's ticket. I've brought this matter up with JAL's customer service line but got no real answers or explanations (only that it's policy). Well, who makes up these "policies"? I'd really like to have a chat with that person.

Wouldn't it be nice if tax and fuel surcharges were capped at a certain percentage of the ticket price, like sales taxes in some states?
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Old Jul 9, 2008, 3:55 AM
ChrisH ChrisH is offline
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The airlines do not make the money from the taxes. Those taxes are airport taxes, which go to the airports that will be flown into, as well as there are taxes for international flights, and other taxes, as well. The airlines get none of that money, just like the stores do not get the sales tax.

As for fuel. Everybody knows how expensive fuel is. The airlines have to mark up their prices, to ensure that they can make a profit, over their cost for fuel, just like any company prices their products, or service, to ensure a profit. It would be nice if the airlines, and any company, for that matter, gave things away for free, or extremely cheap, but obviously that isn't going to happen, and it wouldn't make sense for the company to do so, from a business perspective. What most passengers do not understand, is that, even with the high cost of fuel, with inflation, you are spending the equivalent to what airfare was 20-30 years ago, if not less. The airlines could, and probably should be charging 2-3 times what they are, for airfare.

I can't speak for why there was a 300% mark up, on an infant ticket. I do know that for international flights, the cost for fuel, per passenger can get up into the $200 range. That, coupled with taxes, which again, don't go to the airlines, can easily cause a ticket that is only $80, to suddenly become much higher.
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Old Jul 20, 2008, 12:37 AM
Jetliner Jetliner is offline
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 495

Just to add to that, go to Travelocity or similar and price an international ticket - you will find the same base fare between a couple of the airlines, but the taxes are different - has to do with where the airline is based. But as stated, the airlines do not get these taxes.

Even cheap airlines in Europe will surprise you - Ryan Air has some free tickets up for grabs on a regular basis, but it can add up with the taxes that are charged. You read that right - taxes on a zero dollar/pound ticket.
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Old Sep 27, 2008, 10:18 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

It is not true to say that the "taxes and fees" don't go to the airline in the case of Ryanair. Ryanair are essentially in the scam business, and happen to run airplanes as a mechanism for the scam. For example, they charge of "wheelchair levy fee" to cover the cost of providing wheelchairs to passengers who need them. This is a normal cost of doing business for everyone except Ryanair. This is because they argue the airport should provide it. Ok, that is is a legitimate dispute between the airport and the airline right? Wrong.. after losing a court case they imposed a wheelchair levy which is about 600%+ what it actually costs on every passenger. Another example, if you book a flight with Ryanair and pay with a Visa Credit or Debit card, they charge a fee of 4 per passenger, per flight. Yes, you got that right.. you could theoretically book 4 return flights for free, but end up paying 32 just in debit card booking fees. This is a massive and unjustifiable mark up.. and well in excess in percentage terms of any so called "rip off " increases in landing charges they claim the DAA or BAA have imposed on them. The "fees" for checking in, baggage, wheelchair, insurance and using your credit and debit card all go to Ryanair and are in my opinion simply an attempt to deceive.
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