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Steep increase in airport fees will hurt poorer travellers

LETTER | I am shocked by Mavcom's recently announced passenger service charge (PSC) increase at KLIA by 46 percent.

I was so jarred and honestly, quite hurt to see airport related costs go up once again. This increase from RM50 to RM73 is too much and definitely not in line with the quality of the airport whatsoever.

I thought that with the development of technology since my time, we were supposed to be more comfortable. Yet, now I am even more burdened by these expensive prices. Life is becoming harder as it becomes more about numbers.

My son who is studying all the way in Japan always tells me he misses his family and I feel horrible as a mother in a middle-class family to tell him that we have to ration our money to visit him only once every couple of years. Now, the PSC is pushing prices up again, on top of the departure tax and this new Advanced Passenger Screening System charge.

My husband works every day from 9 to 5 - sometimes longer - just so we can afford a comfortable life and most of all to visit our only son. Now, we legitimately have to make extra sacrifices to our already difficult life so that I can hug my son.

The main issue is that this price increase is coming from the airport. Now, I reckon the underlying implication behind this passenger service charge is that there would be efforts to make it the most comfortable transition from when I get to the airport until I’m cosy in the plane.

Maybe KLIA with its wonderful facilities and modern ambience sort of justifies this tax but KLIA2 charging exactly the same amount of tax is absolutely ridiculous. I've had to walk for 30 minutes just to get to my gate and it isn't an easy comfortable walk - it does not deserve those sort of prices.

With its lack of facilities, long walks between check-in counters and our gate, and worst of all common delays at immigration, most people just want to get in and out of there as soon as possible. Once a sanctuary for low-income families because of its cheaper airport tax, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth as it preys on anybody who wants a flight, whether they need it or not!

My husband and I have been lucky that we have access to the internet and we have friends that tell us about these markups through Whatsapp and other social media platforms. We have prepared for it.

The real victims are those poorer families who were not fortunate enough to hear about this because they don’t have the facilities to do so. They save up and count every single penny to visit their family and friends.

Then, they find out that this hidden tax suddenly keeps them from travelling to visit their beloved ones, causing them to start from square one and keep saving and saving. I can only imagine the disappointment they feel after finding out about this horrendous tax!

Whoever decides these things can try to tell us that what they’re doing is right but I will never listen. This just feel like a select few are trying to make a quick buck at the expense of the poor. They will never know the plight of being separated from their loved ones.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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