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Travel Plan

I just bought the 5 plane tickets:

  1. Warsaw – Budapest
  2. Bratislava – Bucharest
  3. Bucharest – Bratislava
  4. Budapest – Rome
  5. Rome – Warsaw

Looks strange, isn’t it? In fact we only wanted to travel on this route: Warsaw – Bucharest – Rome – Warsaw.

In Europe, there are two major low-cost airlines: SkyEurope and WizzAir.
SkyEurope is a Slovakian company, and has the main hub in Bratislava. WizzAir is a Hungarian company, and has the main hub in Budapest.

Warsaw is served by both companies, but SkyEurope has only two links from Warsaw (which is very little), to Rome and Paris.

Bucharest is only served by SkyEurope (WizzAir will also service Bucharest starting from January 2007). VolareWeb also used to fly to Bucharest (mainly from Italy), but it doesn’t do it anymore. A new Romanian company, BlueAir, is flying from Bucharest; but their website is so hopelessly flawed that I really want to avoid them.

I already flew in the past with both SkyEurope and WizzAir, and I am relativelly happy with the overall experience. And their price is very attractive. For example, the set of 5 flights listed above costs 215 euro / person (all taxes included).

I have a few observations concerning their websites:

  1. Uniform currency

    They have the habit of listing the price in the currency of the origin country for the flight. This can be meaningless for the pasangers who are only transiting throught that country. For example, the segment prices for my 5 flights are: 168PLN + 1589SKK + 27.5EUR + 11480HUF + 64EUR. Yet I’m the same passenger, and I paid for all the flights with a single credit card. What good does it to me to see the prices in 4 different currencies? By the way, on this line I may take offense at the fact that the flight Bucharest – Bratislava has the price in Euro instead of Romanian Leu (RON) (no, this was a joke). All this currency stuff doesn’t really make sense. A simple advice, easy to implement: if you choose to show a certain amount in a national currency, you should also always put the euro-equivalent next to it. The problem with this approach: it will likely break the nice 1990HUF, 19EUR, 49PLN, 990SKK prices they use now. I mean, the euro equivalent may not always nicely end in ’99′. On the other side, this really is a cheap silly trick they should get rid of anyway.

  2. Put the flight details on every order page

    When you make an order on the web, you are walked through a series of 5 or 6 pages. On the first page you choose the date/time of the flight, next they show you the full price, afterwards you enter your name, address, etc, etc, and on the final screen you have to enter your credit card number and complete the transaction. The funny thing is, on this final page, where you normally pause and ask yourself: this is my last chance to give up, do I *really* want to buy this? am I sure I didn’t make any mistake?, there is no display of any of your flight info: no orgin-destination, no date/time, no names of the people travelling. Hmm.. that’s stupid IMO.

  3. Get rid of the silly price/taxes trick

    This is a bad habit of airline companies, to show the price split in two, in what they call price and taxes, and sometimes other fractions like processing fee, credit card processing charge, etc. The only explanation I have is that they’re doing this in order to confuse the cilent into believing that the price is less than it really is. This is a un-fair practice, trying to deceive the client. No company respecting their client should try to deceive him, or at least not in such an obvious way. What’s more, the air travellers also got used to this trick, and they know to ask for the full price before evaluating the cost of the flight, which reduces the efectiveness of the technique. So why shoudn’t the new low-cost airlines be the inovators, and first get rid of this old silly trick? By the way, what would you think if you’d go to buy apples at the supermarket, and the price would be: 1Kg golden apples (promo): 0.01euro. At the counter, they would add: delivery (to the supermaket): 0.19euro; fressness surcharge: 0.09euro, fuel surcharge (for delivery): 0.09euro, supermarket security: 0.19euro, VAT 22%, payment processing 0.39euro, etc, for a total price of … .

Theese low-cost airlines are perhaps having some fierce competition fight between them. But they should really be more focused on fighting the old-fat airlines, and they may benefit from alliances between them. For example, Wizz and SkyEurope may very well mutually benefit from a strategic alliance, oriented at better serving their costumers and thus more efficiently competing with Tarom, LOT, AirFrance, Alitalia, etc. By the way, all the old-fat airlines do have such alliances in place. An alliance between Wizz and SkyEurope would also be advantaged by the fact that these two companies generally serve complementary airports, and on different days of the week. For example, in Poland SkyEurope serves very well Cracow but almost not at all Warsaw, while Wizz has the complementary pattern, serving well Warsaw but not Cracow. And to push things more, they may even sell tickets on the web through a unified (uniform) interface. I (as a client) don’t really care whether I fly Wizz or SkyEurope. All I care is, for example, to travel from Warsaw to Bucarest, on the date/time I want, quick and cheap.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Doina | 2007-02-17 at 16:17 | Permalink

    Hello ,

    Am citit travelnotes si ma intreb ce airline recomanzi (ieftina) ca sa merg de la Bucuresti la una din urmatoarele :

    - Buc- Copenhaga sau
    Buc Helsinki
    Buc -Oslo

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