Corporate Collusion Leads to Price Jumps of $300 for Flying Bicyclist
The folks at ibike.org sent this to me today. I apologize if it’s already been posted on 12 twelve billion other sites.
While some of the airlines are talking green, they are simultaneous working to undermine green choices by their customers!
In the dark of winter, the airlines have effectively increased cost of a trans-Atlantic ticket for a bicyclist by as much as $300. If the base ticket price is $900 that is over a 30% increase in the cost of travel.
Prior to January of 2007 most airlines let bicycles on trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights fly free, in lieu of one piece of baggage (as long as they were within the two-bag limit and underweight limit of 30kg). Early in 2007, most of the world’s airlines seem to have entered into collusion and simultaneously changed their baggage regulations for bicycles. By February of 2007 the regulations, for most airlines, call for all bicycles being charged on these flights. The charges range from $80 to $160 each way — $160 to $320 roundtrip!
It is not a weight issue because many of their lean bicycling customers plus their bikes are going to weigh less than many of their other customers without any bags. It is not a size issue because today’s modern airplanes can, and have, easily accommodated bicycles. And, if is a bottom line issue, the airlines are delusional, because there aren’t enough bikes flying to make a visible difference in their revenue.
The work around for the bicyclists is not as easy as renting a bike at their destinations. There are very few rental bikes available in the world that are suitable for serious environmentally-friendly, multi-day, long distance, bike touring.
Brian’s note: While I’m posting this because it is relevant to cyclists that travel with their bikes, I have to point out that I don’t necessarily agree with the author’s argument. Bikes that are not folders, or not S&S coupled bikes, take up a lot of room. Dimensional weight accounts for more than the actual weight.
While your bike may weigh less than 30 pounds all boxed up, it takes up a large portion of cargo space. I paid over $700 in freight to have a 7kg dog transported from Australia to the US. The size of his crate took up roughly the same cubic space as your average bike. Airlines are getting hit hard by fuel costs, so they can no longer afford to give up that much valuable real estate in the cargo bay.
The economics of commercial aviation are bewildering even to those of us in the industry. The flying public wants cheap tickets no matter what. And the prices for those seats are set too often by companies who’ve squeezed their employees and suppliers in the pursuit of profitability. You’d think that a couple of dollars added to a ticket wouldn’t matter all that much, but the traveling public simply won’t pay a couple of extra dollars for a ticket. That forces the airlines to find other ways of becoming profitable. That means you pay extra for a meal, extra for baggage, or extra for a ticketing change.
That bike box occupies space that can more profitably carry cargo or mail, and believe me, if there’s a way to make more money by NOT transporting your bike, they’ll gladly leave it curbside or make the fee to carry it competitive with cargo rates.
The airline business is intensely competitive. Unfortunately, the ticket prices are set by companies that have used bankruptcy protection as a means of reducing costs. That means every other airline has to meet those artificially low prices, or find themselves without customers. What you’re calling collusion is nothing more than market forces at work.
Indeed. My dog flew on a different flight than we did. This was because the airline had the choice of turning the heat on in the cargo hold, and taking my $700, or leaving the heat off and carrying thousands of dollars in seafood and produce instead.