Last week, I was in Zurich for a quick work trip, and while I was arriving from Brussels, I was going to depart onwards to Amsterdam Schipol for the next leg of my trip. While I could get BRU-ZRH as another leg on my BOM-BRU-BOM ticket (since Jet Airways had a interline partnership with Swiss), I found some pretty exhorbitant fares on the orphan leg of ZRH-AMS.
To give you a bit of background, I had some constraints, this being a business trip. I was working the whole day in Zurich, and I did not want to arrive in AMS very late in the evening considering my eventual destination was Rotterdam which is a while away in terms of travel by train. So, I zeroed in on a 1730 take-off from ZRH. There were 2 flights, a Swiss flight and a KLM flight which arrived within 10 minutes of each other at AMS. No deal breaker this, I decided to go with KLM because it allowed me to fly an Embraer 190 RJ which I had never flown before, and with my Platinum status on KLM, I would be able to get lounge access also while at the airport.
Both the flights gave me a little old-school jolt when priced. The Swiss flight on a single leg priced at 740 Swiss Franc in Economy and 1234 Swiss Franc for a Business flight. The KLM one decided to give me only a business class seat for 1234 Swiss Franc. Heck, the seats were the same, and all the difference was the curtain after the first 4 rows, and a small snack served in the front of the plane.
And when I priced a round-trip for ZRH-AMS-ZRH, I was getting the whole trip at 393 Swiss Franc on Swiss and a similar price on KLM. However, when I wanted to pick up an example for the blog, the pricing right now shows 808 CHF.
Now, I haven’t done this for a very long while, but I asked the TA to get me the RT fare on KLM given the circumstances. I did not want to be paying for a business class seat which was not business, which was only an hour and a half of flying and pay 4x to get a snack. I did not need to come back to ZRH since I was eventually going to take the train from Rotterdam to Brussels to take my flight back. I did pay for the two segments, and yes, I checked in too! But since I did not fly the return segment (must have been reported as a no-show) I did not get the miles on the return leg!
Forced me to ask a question, what makes airlines think they can still make this obscene amount of money on such fares just because the business traveller is involved? For that matter, a non-frequent traveller may be involved who needs to jet across in an emergency. Why make them pay 4x to do these 300-400 miles distances. Is it justified? A 10 percent premium is different for a one way fare, but a 300 percent fare just got me irked!
A decade back they used to put in the conditions of carriage conditions against such use of their pricing. But it looks like 10 years down, and they still haven’t learnt a thing to become pro-flyer!