BCAA Travel survey: airline fees and surcharges are changing B.C. travellers' flight plans

    BURNABY, BC, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - A recent BCAA Travel survey shows B.C. air
travellers to be a thrifty lot, citing "finding the best deal" as their top
consideration when booking a flight. It's no wonder, then, that increasing
airline fuel surcharges and fees for previously free items like luggage,
pillows and seat-selection have pleasure-travellers re-thinking their flight
    When asked how increasing fees are impacting their flight plans, 43 per
cent of the 1,211 web survey participants said they're simply flying less,
while 32 per cent said they're trying to make use of reward miles or points.
Another 22 per cent said they're off-setting higher airline costs by visiting
more affordable destinations. Thirty-one per cent said they're flying as
before and just paying more.

    Of the new or increasing surcharges and fees, those deemed "most
annoying" by B.C. travellers are:
    -  Fees for seat selection: 30 per cent
    -  Excess baggage fees: 18 per cent
    -  Fuel surcharges: 16 per cent
    -  Paying for blankets and pillows: 14 per cent.

    Almost no one said they missed the free airline food, suggesting perhaps
that travellers are passing on airline food, opting instead for a pre-flight
meal or "brown bagging" it.
    In a separate question regarding paying extra baggage fees, most
respondents (64 per cent) said they'll stuff all their belongings into one
suitcase before they'll pay for a second.
    On the subject of redeeming reward miles and points, while this may seem
an attractive way of avoiding high costs, BCAA Travel warns there really is no
such thing as a "free" flight. Most programs still charge reward recipients
taxes, fuel surcharges and airport fees. For example, the following table
provides an indication of how much taxes, fuel surcharges and airport fees add
up to:

                   Taxes, fuel surcharges and airport fees:
                                                 Aeroplan          Air Miles
    Vancouver to London Heathrow Return          $545.00            $608.17
    1 February, 2009                            Air Canada         Air Canada
    Vancouver to Toronto Return                  $130.55            $194.34
    1 February, 2009                            Air Canada          WestJet
    Sourced from respective call centres on 23, September 2008.

    Buyer beware: how to avoid getting jibbed by the jets

    To avoid being "nickeled and dimed" by thinking about your in-flight
needs ahead of time: pack airplane-compatible headphones, a sweater or travel
blanket, an inflatable pillow, and have a meal before or upon arriving at the
airport. Finally, avoid surprises by asking your travel agent to itemize the
additional costs you may encounter, or book with a company that offers a
transparent pricing policy.

    About BCAA Travel

    BCAA Travel is one of the largest travel agencies in B.C. and one of the
first in Canada to introduce a fully-disclosed pricing policy. All advertised
prices under BCAA's "What You See Is What You Pay" prices include all fees,
surcharges and taxes. BCAA is there for its customers before, during, and
after their vacations with its Travel Guarantee and 24-Hour Traveller's
Helpline. BCAA also offers travel planning tools such as TripTik(R) routing
maps & TourBook(R) guides.

For further information:

For further information: or to request an interview with BCAA Travel
Services Director, Dale Urquhart, please contact Jennifer Timm, BCAA Media
Relations Advisor, Tel: (604) 268-5342, Cell: (778) 228-8859, Email:

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