AirAsia’s Convenience Fee – Setting the Record Straight

Posted on 21 January 2010

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AirAsia introduced ‘Convenience Fee‘ in November 2009.

Further in its Travel3Sixty magazine:

What’s a Convenience Fee?
This is a flat fee that AirAsia and AirAsia X have introduced to subsidise the cost of implementing, upgrading and maintaining our online payment systems for more secure booking. It is not a surcharge or admin fee. This is notcharged when you purchase your seat at sales or airport counters,and through the call center.

How does this benefit you?
Enhancements such as improved security features for credit, debit and charge cards payment will ensure you enjoy a safer and more comfortable booking environment

How is it charged?
Per passanger, per way when you book using our online payment options. The fee will vary from country to country

Well, 4 questions popped straight to my mind.

1. It is like , when you go to coffeeshop , the taukeh says, “we are charging RM1 per person, per dish, for the enhancements such as air con, toilet, cashmachine which will ensure you enjoy a comfortable environment”. Imagine 5 person, each ordering 1 drinks & 1 mee goreng . We’d all have to pay RM1 x 5 x 2 (RM10), eventhough instead of everyone pays separately, the bill is footed by one person. I’d say : $$$$ off. Ridiculous. My say is : you want to make business, you need to provide a secure booking environment, not the other way round. Oh ya, another example : I send my kids to kindergarden, and someday, they started asking for fee to employ security guard. Ridiculous. I’m not saying we do not need security guard. Of course security guard is needed, but that is what they must do. I would not be surprised if they impose an ‘insurance convenience fee’ someday. Of course it makes perfect sense for insurance transaction to be secure. But who’s part of the deal is that? Ridiculous!

2. paypal.com, malaysia airlines, skype DOES NOT requires customer to pay such payments. Does that means their system is not secured (this is the purpose of this fee)? Or does this means AirAsia’s previous system prior to November 2009 is not secure? Don’t scare me AirAsia? All my previous transaction WAS NOT SECURED?

3. This is the question which convinced myself that this is purely a blood-sucking monopoly scheme. Remember the phrase “per passanger, per way”? Correct me if I read this wrongly but If I make 1 online transaction, for my whole family of ten for return trip to KL, I need to pay extra RM10 x 10 x 2 = RM200. That’s pure bullshit. I’m making 1 online transaction. It might be unsecured, uncomfortable, but its 1 damn transaction, not 20. And that’s 1 risk hacker can make my life miserable, not 20 risks. Why should I pay 20 times more then? Oh ya, there will be all sorts of reason. Of course, that’s why the convenience fee. And I thought it is meant to finance their system security? Damn, that’s only 1 transaction.

4. why different rate per country? As far as i know, the server is maintained by one team. That same team will manage security and website design. But someone from Australia will pay RM15, while someone in Vietnam will pay RM2. Imagine this is meant to fund staff that is working in a country with low operating cost of RM1. They are earning big when Aussie, Singaporean, or other bigger currency buy tickets. The websites are not even maintained in their purchase company. What a kangaroo idea.

Man, they are really good.
The best tips in business is : Step 1 : monopolize the market. Step 2: do anything you want (customers that don’t like it do not have a choice.

Dear Airasia, here’s some suggestions to further improve your system:
1. start impose fee on the winners of any of your contest. By all means, the winners are entitled to have safe environment too, right?

2. introduce as much as you can in your website: “press cancel to confirm your choice”. That’s super brilliant.
Question : are you sure you want to cancel the optional RM1 umbrella renting fee in case of rain? Press OK to pay, or CANCEL to cancel it. In case you press CANCEL, if you fall sick due to rain, your health is not our responsibility.

3. introduce Umbrella Convenience Fee. Man, that must cost you a lot, you will of course need to ensure a safer and more comfortable walking environment, right? Go ahead! Charge it! The exemption is for those who have minimum balance of RM500 in the AirAsia advance payment account.

4. Convenience Fee is also needed for the E-Gift Vouchers. I do not want my online purchase of E-Voucher to be unsafe, okay? M10 per 1 voucher, per passenger.

5. Introduce Aircraft Maintenance Convenience Fee. Safety is important, so we must pay RM10 to ensure the planes are maintained and operate in safe, secure and comfortable way.

Dato, you are brilliant man. My salute.

p/s : I’ll still use AirAsia, out of economic reason, but AirAsia, you are one of the worst company in morality aspect. This is one company which I will not support voluntarily or proudly, but with despise. From what I can see, words such as : be responsible, be just, don’t be deceitful, social responsibility is not reflected at all in any of your actions, even if they are spoken aloud.

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