Grounded by air­line in crass cash grab


FLIGHT or fight… for flight.

Fly­ing can be fun. How­ever, not fly­ing can be even more fun and not just be­cause you avoid those flights that go up and down like a yoyo, or spear into the sea be­cause a me­chanic for­got to tighten the sump plug.

Not fly­ing means you’ll never have to resched­ule.

Last year be­cause a work thing was can­celled, I post­poned a flight on an air­line that is acronymic but shall re­main name­less. No wor­ries, surely I’d get some credit?

“Don’t have a date yet Mr Crus? We’ll give you a voucher for the amount of your flight … for $100, thank you.”

Got the voucher and an email say­ing I had a year to re­deem my­self.

As it was a wine thing, one vin­tage later I sought re­demp­tion, over the phone be­cause there was no ‘Voucher’ but­ton on­line.

Then for the first time in avi­a­tion his­tory, prices went up … af­ter two hours on hold, “You’ll also have to pay the dif­fer­ence in fares, Mr Crus.” Struth, an­other $100.

“And, sorry Mr Crus, your re­turn flight falls out­side the 365-day statute of lim­i­ta­tions of our gen­eros­ity, you’ll also have to pay for the re­turn.”

“But your email says ‘Re­deem’ be­fore the date, not ‘fly’.”

“Sorry, Mr Crus, that’s not what we think it means.”

“The re­turn flight is two days af­ter the cut-off, can you show no le­niency, no mercy?” “Cor­rect, Mr Crus.” “May I speak with your su­per­vi­sor?” We got cut off.

An­other two hours of el­e­va­tor mu­sic, “Mr Crus, we’ll al­low your re­turn flight if you please just go away. How­ever, be­cause you have booked this flight over the phone, there’ll be an­other charge of $50.”

“But you can’t do it on­line.” Had we been on a video call, I would have seen her lean back and chor­tle to her col­leagues: “Old fart on line 3, can’t use the in­ter­net”. I fumed qui­etly

to my­self and spat on my voucher, re­al­is­ing too late it was also my lap­top.

Oh well, what’s four hours of your life and $250 ex­tra?

A good night out and a de­cent box of wine, that’s what.

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