Nickel and diming

Via PhillipC on Flickr

Ah, those mythical $1 airfares. I thought it was my lucky day when I received a Jetstar email about their $1 Christchurch and Wellington fares; the sale started at 4pm, so you can bet that when the time rolled around, I was there refreshing like a madwoman.

First, the sale was limited to Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So we could have a week long trip…or an overnight. I figured a one-night stay would be enough to get a quick taste of the city, without wasting too much precious leave.

The times were also pretty limited – two flights a day, one mid-afternoon, one at night.

Then it came time to wade through the extra shite they try to pawn you: allied hotels, rental cars and whatnot.

Then I filled out all the details: my legal name, his legal name, my contact details, blahdeblah. And then my booking timed out. I had to start from scratch, but thanks to the magic of autosave, I didn’t have to type everything out in full again.

Only THEN did we get down to the serious business of seat selection. And this is where it got good. Each standard seat came at a cost of $3! Extra legroom and other special seats incurred even larger fees. My $4 flights ($1, return for two) was ballooning to $16. And I knew I’d have to pay another $5 or so for a booking fee at the end, plus who knows WHAT else before then.

At this point, I was not too happy with their sneaky calculations, and clicked out of the site. Perhaps other airlines’ $1 fares work in a similar way, but with all the bad Jetstar publicity, and the very limited travel dates, I’d rather hedge my bets elsewhere.

Who’s ever snagged a $1 fare? Is this normal and how much should I actually expect to pay once all is said and done?

6 thoughts on “Nickel and diming

  • Reply Amanda October 14, 2010 at 01:26

    I got flights to Adelaide last year actually, on one of Jetstar’s $1 fare frenzies. My cousin and I went, and it ended up costing us about $25 return each (all fees included). Still a bargain, and we went for three days (so it wasn’t the week/day option).

  • Reply Jane October 14, 2010 at 09:27

    There are lots of hidden fees/taxes in the U.S., so I’ve had nothing but problems trying to book “super low” fares. The lowest I found was $25; it ended up being $129 after taxes and fees were added (and that was before baggage fees). I decided to go with a more reputable airline. Blah! I’d rather they just put the actual price on airfare.

  • Reply Fig October 14, 2010 at 10:44

    I’ve never have tried to get one of those. In the US there isn’t ever anything as cheap as just $1. Usually it’s about $50 for “sales” and those are limited and weren’t usually in the area I lived in. In Europe I tried doing the $1 thing, but it always ended up being about $14, no matter what. Taxes and fees, taxes and fees.

    Now I’m going to check out Jetstar though. Even those rates are cheap enough that I could go explore some more of New Zealand!

  • Reply ScribblesNZ October 14, 2010 at 15:07

    I’m sure someone will have had exactly the opposite experience of us but every time we have flown domestically (family in Christchurch so we go quite frequently) we’ve flown Air NZ and one or both other airlines have had major faults. Kind of like to compare it to pay transport – AirNZ is kind of like catching a cab, you can get your cheaper fares at times but they’re pretty up front about how much it’s going to cost, what you get and when you leave. The other airlines are like catching a bus – cheaper than the cab but you get the service that you pay for… and they never leave on time LOL.
    We’ll stick to Air NZ and just look for $59 fares on Grabaseat.

  • Reply aloysa October 15, 2010 at 04:10

    What?! $1 airfare?!!!! I never even heard about this thing! I consider a sale if we have $49 airfare (in the US) and usually it is to the destinations we don’t want to go!

  • Reply Amanda August 19, 2011 at 13:05

    I’ve managed to Nab a one way Auckland > Wanganui flight for $1 once before, and it did actually only cost $1. I hate how some airlines add extra fees on when you start going through the process of actually getting the tickets!

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