Monday, September 07, 2015

Magnificent men

Just for a change, I find I have to make one choice from a collection of relevant popular culture. There’s Captain Blackadder’s comment concerning aviators: “I don’t care how many times they go up diddly-up up; they’re still gits.” There’s Fascinating Aida’s now infamous Cheap Flights song, and there’s also Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines.

I got the email from Air Arabia: “Lock in your seat at lower fares: return from AED399 all inclusive!” As I’d booked the Eid leave but not the flights, it was obviously time to secure a cheap flight to Dubai before the world and his wife, children, and animals all decided that Doha was not the place to be. Not being daft, I checked other airlines too.

Hmmm… Qatar Airways bargain basement AED850.
How about Fly Dubai? Not the usual sub-600 cheapness, but AED800.
Obviously AED399 wins.

The Air Arabia website decided to be a recalcitrant beast, failing entirely to do anything on the desktop machine. It would talk to my tablet, though. So through the booking process I went, carefully skirting around and deselecting special meals, special seats, and massive quantities of luggage. Great. Card details…Click…Ping…Job done!

Oh, but in my fervour I’d forgotten to select which flight I wanted. There’s a choice of four, and the booking system had allocated a 9am flight and I wanted the 7pm. To be unfair, I think the website didn’t prompt me to select which flight; what is more likely is that the pop-up keyboard obscured that option. So I had to call Air Arabia to get the flight changed rather than take Thursday off and incur Thursday, Friday, Saturday as additional annual leave.

I don’t know what happened to the putative AED399. I was charged AED577. This included a charge for using Visa (which was drastic, ‘cos how the feck you s’posed to pay if not with fecking plastic?) Still a lot less than the other airlines, until I tried to change the flight. They wanted nearly AED500 to change both directions, so I dealt only with the outbound, at a mere AED369 including yet another charge for using Visa.

So that’s now AED946 of the alleged AED399 for Billy-basic cheapskate-no-frills, and around AED100 more than Qatar Airways. Had I gone expensive early, I’d have saved a bit of cash, got into the Business Lounge and priority access through Immigration, and even collected some air miles.

Edited 8th September to note that within 24 hours of booking and paying for these expensive tickets, Fly Dubai emailed me with a "Book today for 30% discount."

As Muttley so eloquently puts it: “Sassa frassa rassum dassum…


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