Flights of fancy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 August, 2008, 12:00am
 

It's summer and time to escape the city. Some of the flight/hotel packages out of Hong Kong look appealing - until you try to book. Unlike in Australasia and, soon, Europe, airlines in Hong Kong can advertise a too-good-to-be-true package to, for example, Cebu (Dragonair Holidays' Value Cebu package costs 'from' HK$2,699) to draw in customers.

Then comes the sting: a HK$1,000 per person 'air ticket surcharge'. What is that, you might ask - a fuel levy or government tax? No. Both of those charges are also applied to the original package price. According to Cathay Pacific Holidays, the surcharge, which constitutes more then 30 per cent of the original Value Cebu fare, is simply a seasonal add-on. This means a weekend in Cebu is really going to cost HK$4,161, including taxes. Isn't splashing a price that passengers have no hope of obtaining across billboards and in newspapers a little devious? If we all followed these guidelines, houses would be up for sale for only hundreds of dollars and cars would be advertised for peanuts - and the world would be filled with hidden costs. Now, that'd be something worth escaping from.

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