11 November 2009
I refer to the letter AirAsia's convenience fee for value-added services.
To AirAsia's credit, they have put up a notice (albeit a small one ) on their front page explaining the reason behind the Convenience Fee. It can be seen here.
But the reason is still unconvincing. AirAsia claims that the fee was introduced 'to ensure that our guests are provided a comfortable and safe booking environment. AirAsia has invested substantially to expand, implement and maintain our online payment systems and especially, to upgrade, enhance and improve the security features for online credit, debit and charge cards payments. The Convenience Fee is to subsidise the costs of the payment systems.
I say poppycock. Let me ask my fellow readers to consider this a minute - isn't the online purchasing system one of the fundamental pillars that keeps AirAsia in business?
Without it, AirAsia's business model would crumble as they would need to engage travel agents etc. and that would make them indistinguishable from any full-service airline.
If this system is so fundamental to AirAsia's business, it is their imperative to make the system as secure and as convenient as possible for users whether we subsidise it or not.
If not, customers would just not use it and move on to another low-cost airlines that provide this convenience without the fee.
And therein lies the true reason for AirAsia's convenience fee.
AirAsia has a monopoly in Malaysia in the low-cost airline sector. For people to go in, out, or around Malaysia cheaply, no one can provide a service cheaper than AirAsia's. And that is why they can force us to subsidise whatever fee they want.
In fact, they can bring on a convenience fee, then an 'inconvenience fee', and on top of that a 'just-messin'-with-you' fee and we'd all just have to accept them because there is no other choice.
For all its whining of being the underdog against the big dogs, it in fact is the most terrible of them all which doesn't even attempt to put on a facade that they care about their customers in the name of being low-cost.
by John Z