With more and more airlines offering to ‘hold’ a fare for passengers (Emirates are just the latest to do so), passengers can now lock in a fare (not taxes) so that they can finalise their travel plans before committing. The question remains, though, as to whether this new option is good for consumers or just represents the airlines finding a new source of easy revenue.
Having previously worked as a travel agent, to me, the idea of holding a fare is nothing new. The idea was that if a customer came in and wanted to look at going on holiday, you would hold off a provisional booking for them so that you could guarantee what the price was going to be. A few, and I really do mean a few, very cheeky agents used to charge a £1 deposit to hold the fare, even though it cost nothing to do so (unless you forgot to cancel the provisional booking!), meaning that they were simply charging this to get more of a commitment from the customer. In short, the charge was a way of ensuring you had a higher chance of making a sale.
With airlines (my example being a flight from London to Doha with Emirates) charging up to £15 for a fare to be held, the cost of locking in the price you have found seems very expensive. Sure, the option is there to not get charged if you choose to go through with the booking but surely there is no justification to be charging these fees when it costs the airline nothing to hold off a booking.
All in all, there is of course nothing bad about being able to hold off a flight price to let you check with work, make sure you are getting the best deal, and most importantly to make sure that your family is happy with the trip. There is, in my opinion, something wrong with the idea that there needs to be a charge applied that seems to be in place simply to give airlines the opportunity to make sure you avoid shopping around to see if you can find a lower price, or simply to put pressure on you to buy the tickets.
Categories: Travel News