The most expensive no-frills flight ever?

Interesting talk just now at the Abta Travel Convention in Barcelona by a chap called Mark Hudson of Price Waterhouse Cooper.

The gist was people’s purchasing habits have changed over the course of the recession and some companies are having to adopt the low-cost airline model of stripping out some non-essential services and charging extra for them. He also said that people would still shop at the higher end of the market if they thought the luxury element was worth it.

Both would seem to be in direct contrast to my flight out here to Barcelona yesterday with Iberia, which has to be the most expensive no frills flight  in the world.

I have to say I was pleased with the welcome onboard the Iberia plane: ‘Turn that phone OFF’ was one of the first instructions barked to me by one member of crew; the second came a while after take off when the seat belts sign went off. I was in the row just behind Business Class and it seemed a relatively easy solution to use the loo at the front of the plane. ‘Go to the back’ shouted the dragon who was serving the upper class customers.

Even better was the food and drink trolley that came round. My ‘jamon’ sandwich had no cheese or salad (as shown on the picture on the menu card) and, on inspection, no butter either; the beer was warm and, if you ever needed proof that packing is the same while portions get smaller, the 10 crisps in my mini carton of Pringles would bear great witness. The sum paid for this princely meal? €11 and I didn’t even get to try out David Whitley’s RyanAir exchange rate scam (see here) as they would not accept a £20 note.

Now the Spanish Tourist Board (links and info below) paid for all the journalist’s flights to Abta and I am grateful to them for doing so… Because the price of this sub-Ryanair treatment was an absolutely extortionate £790.70!

Hudson said that people have purchasing zones which range: bargain, value, indifference (price makes no difference), switching (people change suppliers)  and insult (people get pissed off). If I’d paid for the flight, I’d be well in the last zone.

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