Scoot scoops up your small change for connecting at Changi
A secular parable about how Scoot’s $$ Changi connecting flights fee could send an airline broke
Scoot has devised a hitherto unknown ancillary charge to extract dollars from penny conscious budget flyers with a fee of either $SG 16 or $SG 20 for making low fare connections using its flights or Tiger’s at Singapore’s Changi Airport.
You either prepay (cheaper) or pay at the counter to make your connection, or get sent through the border formalities to reclaim your baggage before then coming back through the passport and security checks to check-in for your onward flight.
It isn’t clear yet whether you can avoid this charge if you don’t have checked luggage.
But one can imagine that being rejected from making your connecting flight because you were flying with or without checked luggage and hadn’t coughed up the Changi Connects fee and tried to do what is free for every other airline on the planet, even on Jetstar, might give rise to a rebellion on a similar scale to Ryanair when it proposed to charge a gold coin to use a pay toilet on its 737s in Europe on flights offering unlimited free water.
The really awesome worry for travellers at large is that other carriers, even full service carriers, might invent their own connecting flights fees.
It will work this way.
The ambitious work experience bean counter in let’s say, airline X, works out that on average flights in the past year at airport Y, 20 passengers per flight out of 400 flights per day changed to another flight. So at $10 special connection fee to avoid retrieving and rechecking your bags, with the avoidance of a security check as an added incentive, airline X might collect on average 20 times $10 ($200) times 400 ($80,000) per day, or roughly $250,000 a month, or $3 million a year, per gateway airport, or say $30 million a year in Australia, of pure skimmed cream.
(Which could be more than the entire Qantas group might make on an overstated under-uber-underlying profit before tax basis in the six months to 31 December this year.)
The kid sells the idea to the board. Gets job. A year later, under administration, the receivers discover the main reason why the airline went down the gurgler, is that the connection fee of $10 caused a critical 10% of price conscious travellers to do something unthinkable, and switch to flying on the competing low cost carrier, not only saving themselves a collective $30 million that the airline expected to harvest with the new ancillary charge, but depriving airline X of $300 million in ticket sales, which meant it just missed its lease and fuel payments, and thus ended its days in a media orgy of live video casts of terminals full of stranded customers watching on as the repo pilots seized the jets and fly them off to Luxembourg or Shannon.
Kid gets real job with Telstra, Optus or your local electricity company, devising new ways to ‘improve’ customer interfacing with billing system.