Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spanish MEPs only fly in first class to save money

Spanish members of the European parliament got a lot of shit from the press for their recent vote to avoid getting a salary cut. One amusing sideshow was the pathetic attempt to justify flying first class, by claiming that it is actually cheaper in the long run:

Sosa Wagner [from UPyD] has stated that he deliberately did vote for first class flights, but then also changed the meaning of his vote at the behest of the leadership of his party. "For our situation, we sometimes have to cancel trips and traveling in coach means there’s a charge for a change, something that doesn’t happens in business . At the end flying, first class saves for the European Parliament. " This argument also has the support from other socialist deputies such as Iratxe Garcia and Ines Ayala. "The question is not yes or no for coach, that is a measure that can be good for show. There are other means of savings that should be explored, such as the European Parliament negotiating with airlines to reduce their rates."

I’m not sure what he means by “changing the meaning of his vote”… Almost as good as John Kerry’s “I voted for it before I voted against it”.

One thing to keep in mind when corporate people talk about “negotiated rates” with airlines, these rates are still significantly higher than what you or me would get from going to Rumbo or Expedia. That’s just the way it is.

Let’s see the prices for a direct flight from Madrid to Strasburg:

  • Nonrefundable Economy – 250 euros
  • Refundable Economy – 560 euros
  • Business (refundable) – 1912 euros

It would be hard to argue that that flying business within Europe is ever worthwhile, since refundable economy tickets do in fact exist for a quarter of the price of a business class ticket.

Refundable tickets tend to be a rip-off for large companies, since the airline is basically including “insurance” in the ticket for cancellation. The company would be better off just taking a loss on the few trips people don’t take, which will probably average out much better.

No comments: