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Controversy flows over cost of airfares to a funeral 

August 26, 2014 Aviation, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59Regional airfares in New Zealand are under scrutiny after woman in the South Island city of Nelson had to fork out the equivalent of AUD 1219 for return airfares for herself and her husband to fly to a funeral in Dunedin, 557 kilometres away.

In comparison, a return flight between Melbourne and Adelaide (a greater distance, at 655 kilometres) can be obtained for under AUD 400 return, for two.

Helen Blaikie told her local Nelson Mail newspaper that the last-minute booking to travel to a funeral last month cost them a small fortune.

The cost for the return fares with just carry-on bags was NZD 1352 (AUD 1219) plus NZD 40 [optional] insurance for the couple, which Blaikie “outrageous”.

There is no direct flight from Nelson to Dunedin, and flights connect through Christchurch or Wellington. The longest trip, including the stopover, is 6 hours and 30 minutes and the shortest is 2 hours and 25 minutes, the Nelson Mail said.

Air New Zealand explained that while it offered compassionate fares to immediate family members, such fares were not available to extended family or close friends. The decision related to what the airline could afford to subsidise, as it was the only carrier prepared to operate the Nelson-Dunedin service.

Blaikie retorted that when other airlines over the years had attempted to operate the route they had been squeezed out when Air New Zealand “conveniently reduced” its fares.

Air New Zealand said it tried to keep fares “as low as it could”. It declined to comment to the paper about whether the Nelson-Dunedin service was profitable, or worthwhile, or what the average weekly passenger loadings were.

Airfares vary widely on various routes. They are usually cheaper than surface transport, but not always.

Perhaps the most expensive route in the world is the 1.5km train trip between Sydney’s International and Domestic Airport rail stations. The one-way adult fare for the trip is AUD 16.40. This charge was seen as so outrageous that a special AUD 5.40 single ticket has replaced it for travel between the two stations. This ticket can be bought only at those stations.

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Pete Duncan says:

    Try flying out of Tamworth. Your only destination is Sydney and costs anywhere from $300 to $500 one way. You may be lucky to get a cheaper flight if booking well in advance.

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