11/16/2011

Tout Compte Fait exposes easyJet!

On a day when easyJet announced increased profits and bookable seats, the consumer magazine explains how their prices explode in flight! The airport publicity was even more deceptive!


The cover page summary on the 16 November edition of the Swiss Consumer magazine "Tout Compte Fait" includes the following :-

Low Cost : les prix explosent en vol! (the prices explode in flight).

The article takes the example of a publicity announcement for a flight to Bilbao, which indicates a price of 27.95 Swiss Francs, all taxes included. When the journalist actually booked to go there and back, the actual cost was 249.30 Swiss Francs, assuming a bag in the hold, payment with a credit card and a return to Geneva: 894% of the original advertised price.

The journalist finds it difficult to accept that in the publicity, the quoted price, including the assertion that all taxes are included, can be so deceptive, in particular because the little asterisk next to the price indicates a different text, written at right angles and in a smaller type, specifying extra charges. In fact, I already wrote a blog about this in Summer, pointing out that for the publicity shown in the airport itself, the text linked to the asterisk is not shown.  At that time the Swiss Federal Secretariat for the Economy (SECO : Secrétariat d'Etat à l'écomomie) was apparently not satisfied that these extra charges are sufficiently clearly indicated on easyJet advertisement, but nothing seems to have changed!

Today we can read that easyJet has nearly doubled its profits, and in addition to priority boarding is going to offer seat booking (at an extra charge, of course): all of this to make yet more money. On the other hand, yesterday the VERY low number of easyJet Switzerland flights (only 20 there and back flights from the 12 aircraft stationed in Geneva, whereas on the same Tuesday last year there were 28) aroused my curiosity. I found that the flights to Nantes, Nice and Toulouse, as well as Budapest and Sharm el Sheikh, have quietly been dropped. Of course, you will not read this in the publicity of either easyJet or the airport, but I suppose that (a bit like Novartis?) they want to drop unprofitable flights to make even more money! It is also impossible to consult the general winter schedules for Geneva: unlike Zurich and Basel, they no longer publish them!

These days you have to be good at reading between the lines and googling!

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