An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
EVERYONE WHO’S EVER travelled by air knows the early bird gets the best seats at the cheapest rates. Last-minute fliers are used to paying a lot more than other passengers on the same plane who were able to book with plenty of time to spare.
One might think the airlines would be anxious to fill up those last seats and, therefore, sell them cheaper but that’s not how it works.
It’s a matter of supply and demand. The fewer seats available, the more valuable those seats become. It’s like any other product.
But what’s happening right now with flights in and out of Kamloops looks a lot like price gouging. In good times, a round-trip ticket to Vancouver costs around $350, though it fluctuates. Now look at prices during this holiday season.
I searched on Expedia.ca and, believe it or not, one Kamloops-Vancouver return ticket that covered the days before and after Christmas was priced at $1,600 including taxes and would take more than eight hours due to the fact it was routed through Calgary and involved a lengthy stop in the Alberta city. There was, according to the website, “one left.”
As reported by CFJC, booking back in September would have saved you several hundred dollars.
So is there anything we can do about it? After all, we can’t just hop in the car and drive to the Coast these days, and a lot of people are desperate to see family.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth acknowledged concerns but didn’t have an answer other than to say it’s federal jurisdiction. The Air Passenger Rights group doesn’t have much to say about it, either.
There’s actually been upward pressure on ticket prices for the past year, with COVID and all, but after taxpayers bailed out one of those airlines just a few months ago with low-interest loans worth billions, these extreme ticket prices feel like a lump of coal in our stockings.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.