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YOURSAY | ‘If Umno politicians can do better, then start your own airline.’

Gov't pledges action against AirAsia over 'exorbitant fare'

Good Friend: Budget airlines’ ticket-pricing rule is very clear. Book early you get cheap fares, book late you pay more. If a budget airline only sells cheap tickets, it will go bust in no time.

Kinabatangan MP Bung Moktar Radin needs to have a better understanding before opening up his big mouth and before any government minister joins in the fray.

He should ask why Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) built such an expensive "budget" terminal called KLIA2 (its cost ballooned from RM2 billion to RM4 billion).

Such a costly terminal means extra expenses for the budget airlines which are supposed to keep fares low.

Anonymous 19811504508400: Budget airlines would first offer a standard fare - not too cheap, not too high. At a certain point, break-even occurs.

At this point, the airline can "play around" with the fares, according to the demand. If it is high, then the fares will be high. If the fare goes higher, demand will start to decline. The airline will then lower the fare to attract back the demand.

So, we often see "last two seats at this price” or “last seat at that price”. It is a game of chance the airline plays with its customers. Booking too far in advance does not necessarily mean the fare is low.

Nevertheless, the government should set a legal ceiling price for budget operators, so that their status will remain as "budget".

Onlooker: That's the way it works, Bung. Sometimes you pay very little - at certain times of day, non-peak periods, tickets booked well in advance or during sales. Last-minute bookings are the most expensive.

The fare clearly states all these conditions and also warns you that you must be at the boarding gate on time. Even Malaysia Airlines (MAS) leaves people behind, this I know for a fact. Then you pay full fare for a new ticket. Weep and learn.

NTA: Indeed, no one is forcing anyone to fly AirAsia. If one chooses to fly during peak times and wants to book at the last minute, then the choice is yours to pay what AirAsia is offering, or fly another airline.

Anonymous 19811504508400: Let's be more serious instead of poking fun at Bung. RM1,000 from Sandakan to Kuala Lumpur is indeed too much.

Perhaps AirAsia should explain the sudden high fare. Is this increase legitimate and within the pricing framework for the budget carrier’s licence?

Anonymous 2436471476414726: I can't help but agree with Bung in this instant. AirAsia is a budget airline and therefore must live up to its name. Charging extraordinary excessive fares during peak period is a sign of pure greed.

During the initial years of its operation, AirAsia opened the skies for the less privileged due to its affordable fares. Like their motto says "Everyone Can Fly". However, that motto may need changing now to "Everyone can fly only at rare times".

Those from Sabah and Sarawak depend largely on air travel, not only to and from Peninsula Malaysia but also internally within their respective state, no thanks to the poor road condition.

The availability of budget airlines was a much welcome relief but sadly all good things now come to an end. AirAsia now seems to see it fit to exploit the poor travellers from Sabah and Sarawak.

Anonymous #19098644: This is the business model of the world’s most successful low-cost airlines, including Malaysian-owned ones. If Bung is unhappy, fly MAS.

The government has no business interfering just because an Umno politician misuses his parliamentary position to attack AirAsia.

If Umno politicians can do better, then start your own airline and compete with AirAsia.

Prudent: AirAsia is just one big hypocrite. I faced a problem with my prepaid ticket in a foreign country. Instead of helping, its online help shut me out completely. It treated me like a hooked fish for extracting maximum profit. In the end, I have to forgo my return ticket.

It's online "bargains" are full of tricks and traps. Descriptions are likely vague on purpose. One wrong interpretation and I have to pay much more at the counter. They make their demands because they knew I have no choice - I need to get on board the flight.

They say I can get a refund. The online help claims are purposely onerous and virtually impossible to make. After many attempts, I was informed by email that my claims were unsuccessful and a spurious reason was given. This amounts to outright lying. I have made a promise to as far as possible not to fly AirAsia.

Anonymous 2460391489930458: If Bung thinks AirAsia fare is too expensive, then don’t fly AirAsia.

AirAsia is a private company and its fares are determined by its management and driven by market forces. If indeed customers find AirAsia fares consistently overpriced, then the company will lose business and eventually close shop.

Market forces will determine the fate of AirAsia and there is no need for the government to interfere.

Vijay47: If Bung felt that the fare was too high, why did he insist on flying AirAsia? Did AirAsia founder Tony Fernandez hold a gun to his head?

He could just as well flown in any of the other airlines. Or he could have flown on that princely pink jet a certain lady has appropriated for her majestic self. Next thing we know, he will be whining that Starbucks sells coffee at RM15 when the mamak shop charges only RM1.80.

Politicians like Bung are just village cowboys, not averse nor ashamed to make statements however ridiculous as long as it catches the public’s eye. Now everybody except Bung can fly.

Clearwater: Bung wants to have his cake and to eat it as well. You can't have it both ways. Price discrimination is a harsh fact of life in any competitive capitalist economy.

You want travel convenience at your fingertips and you want it cheap? The cheapo is you, Bung. Why don't you complain about high parking charges in Kuala Lumpur international hotels during office hours?

Wira: If AirAsia charges low fares for last-minute passengers, other passengers will have to pay more.

The net effect would be that many may not plan their travel ahead because the obvious advantage of buying tickets early is not there anymore. This may result in lower loading factor for AirAsia planes that will severely affect the airlines' bottom line.

If AirAsia folds, who will suffer?

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