total cost of travel

There's a cost associated with travel, and its not just the airfares. Meals, airport transfers, pet boarding, parking or taxi fares add to your cost. Not to mention hidden airline fees. If you've ever booked a flight online then you know that the advertised price isn't the final price that you'll end up paying. Take Jetstar for instance. They will charge you an outrageous fee of $8.50 per flight per passenger if you pay by credit card. Therefore a return flight from Brisbane to Sydney for myself will incur a $17 booking fee. If Maria and her daughter came with me, then we'll be up for $51 just for the privilege of paying the airfare by credit card. Unfortunately the fees don't stop there. There's an extra fee for luggage ($17 for 20kg) and additional fees if you want to choose your own seat. Some things that you might be accustomed to on other airlines actually incur a fee on Jetstar:

  • food
  • beverages
  • entertainment

For a 90 minute flight I think I can forego the food and beverages, and besides there is nothing much I couldn't get on the aircraft that I couldn't get at the airport anyway. As for entertainment, I'll opt to read a book than pay to watch free-to-air re-runs of Seinfield. As for movies, not much chance of watching that by the time the entertainment system comes on and you factor out the in flight announcements, passengers climbing over you for the toilet or cabin staff asking if you'd like any food/drinks/shopping. And who shops on an aircraft anyway?.

Travel to and from the airport is another cost that needs to be factored in. I can catch a train from my place to the airport, and it will cost approximately $32 return. If Maria and her daughter come with me then we could be up for $96. Compare that to long term parking where I can pre-book parking for 15 days at $110. That means I could have the convenience of driving to the airport and choosing flights that may not be suitable for public transport. In fact some airlines have cheaper airfares early morning / late night that when combined with $110 airport parking can be comparable or cheaper than a mid morning / afternoon flight with the train. More so when there is more than one person travelling.

Qantas charges $7 per booking per passenger, and Virgin $7.70. Both these airlines have the closet overall price to the advertised airfare. Qantas allows 1 piece of checked luggage, whereas Tiger, Virgin and Jetstar require separate fees (or different type of airfare) to be paid. Qantas and Virgin are the best airlines for me to travel with, and Jetstar have lost me as a customer with their accumulating hidden fees that just left me with a disappointing experience.


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