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Tumbit's take on Spain : Mr Grumpy

Mr Grumpy has lived and worked in Spain for 6 Years. He is self-employed and has a 3 year old Daughter that speaks better Spanish than he does. Despite the occasional moan about 'Spanish Bureaucracy' he enjoys the Spanish lifestyle and the warmth and friendliness of the Spanish people.

The Pitfalls of Flying Economy
23 July 2010 @ 18:53

In nearly every line of business throughout the world there is a high standard of regulation to prevent mis-representation and false advertising. Why is it, I wonder, that the airline Industry (With one particular Irish culprit being worse than most) is seemingly unaffected by this ?

As most Ex-pats living in Spain do, I make several trips back to the UK every year, and like everybody else I always get suckered into searching like an idiot for the cheapest flights. Which in short, means that I nearly always begin my search with the Irish lot.

I like to think that I am Intelligent(ish) guy, and keep telling myself that you only ever get what you pay for – so why is it that every time I fly with them I tell myself that is the last ?

When I booked my 10.99 Flight last Month I had to pay a Credit Card fee of 4.00, an on-line check in Fee of 15.00, and an airport Tax of 29.99.(And that's just one way !) On-top of that they tried to make me pay an extra 15.00 for a piece of Luggage ( That I didn't want to Take ) and 15.00 For Travel Insurance (That I hoped I wouldn't need). The first 4 Charges were compulsory – so why not just tell me that the total cost of the flight would be 59.98 in the first place instead of messing me about ?

To make matters worse the cardboard mug of insipid, brown, gritty, lukewarm water on the plane cost me the best part of 3.00, and as of May next year they will be charging 1.00 for the use of the Toilets (Probably in the hope that the reduced demand in them will allow them to remove one of the toilet cubicles to cram in another row of seats). I would imagine that this would result in the most of Steerage class foregoing the usual 4 cans of Stella Artois in order that they can keep cross-legged just to save a quid, and as a result the fall in the demand for the beverage trolley would mean that financially the airline would be no better off for doing this.

Earlier this week those cheeky Irish chappies have announced that they will be charging anybody who has the temerity to try and re-claim their lost luggage or personal possessions 10.00 for the privilege of doing this ! - How is this legal ? - In the UK, and most other European Countries, if you found a handbag in the street and contacted the owner to tell them that you would return it for a fixed sum this would be deemed as blackmail and as such would be a criminal act – How is this any different ?

It makes me wonder how far they will be allowed to take things ? - Maybe when a Plane looses cabin pressure, instead of the masks falling from the ceiling, the “ Waitresses of the Sky “ will walk up and down the Isle selling them ? - Or maybe life vests will be charged out at 5.00 a time as passengers jump out of the sinking fuselage ?

Tempting as it is to fall headlong into the trap of opting for the cheapest flight, nearly everybody that has flown with them will tell you that it is a false economy and you always up paying the full, true cost in the long run – why not just accept this at the outset and fly in comfort with a "non-economy" airline for a few quid more ? - At least that's what I tell myself I will do next time.

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David said:
23 July 2010 @ 18:18

This is way I made my last trip with them over 4 years ago - Monarch all the way for me since then.

Mark said:
23 July 2010 @ 18:55

Can't agree with you there. I haven't paid a card processing fee for almost 2 years now as I used Electron and now prepaid Mastercard. They quite often have deals on with either no taxes or no online check in fee. The most I have paid for a return flight inclusive of everything with them is £100 over the Christmas period which was 50% cheaper than the next carrier. You don't have to drink/ eat their in- flight offerings and even if they did charge to use the loo, they couldn't add any more seats by removing one because the aircraft is only licensed for x amount of passengers and no more.

As for charging for lost property, bus companies have done it for years. The company I worked for charged £5 or if a purse/ wallet, 10% of the contents.

Mr Grumpy said:
23 July 2010 @ 20:50

I stopped flying with Monarch myself about 5 years ago. I can remember flying to the UK from Alicante on a Midnight flight that was about 20% full - it seemed to me at the time that they had added in an extra row of seats as the leg room was pretty tight. I asked the Stewardess if I could move to one of the empty rows over the wings - she said no - they were reserved for those who had paid the additional 'extra leg room' charge, and it would be unfair to upgrade me when there were other passengers on the flight ( probobally no more than 30 ! ) - oddly, being 5'6" booking extra legroom wasn't at the front of my mind when I booked the flight.
As the plane was about to taxi to the runway she then came back up the aisle asking if there was anybody who was prepared to move to the very same seat, as airline regulations stated that there had to be somebody seated next to an Emergency exit.
I told her that charging somebody an extra £15 to sit there was ridiculous if somebody 'had to' sit there, and asked her if she was prepared to meet my 'fee' for doing this job on their behalf.
I was offered 'Free extra legroom' on my very next flight with them. Whoppee-do!

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