Thursday, November 30, 2006

air miles

Let me begin with a reminder: Bermuda is not part of the Caribbean & is nowhere near it. It's considered part of Atlantic North-America - more or less parallel to Charlotte, Virgina or Nashville, TN to be exact, above Florida & the Caribbean Islands. Here's the irony though: if you want to travel from Bermuda to the Caribbean you have to pretty much get a connecting flight to the US, travel north to NY or maybe Philly & then back south past Bermuda to the Caribbean. There are no direct flights to the Caribbean. If that's where you're from, good luck my friend.

Travelling to Canada is a little easier. Apart from Air Canada which flies non-stop daily to & from Toronto (3 hour flight tops), we also have a few other choice airlines. But the choices are American & they include stop-overs. And while they boast their own entirely separate funky boarding lounge at the Bermuda airport, they really can't boast about their in-flight meal service, which at most times is next to nothing.

If you're a Brit expat, however, travelling back home can be a bit of a price shocker. British Airways has a monopolistic presence here in Bermuda. There is no other airline that flies direct to the UK from Bermuda & so they can really charge what they bloody well please. But they do have good airline food & great customer service. Or so I've been told.

With the growing number of expats from Asia, travelling home for them is a minimum 19 hour flight all preceded with pricey airfare. Most of these airlines stop over in the UK and that ups the ante on airfare. While in most cases flights originating from NY to anywhere in the world are a cheaper alternative, this unfortunately is not an option for our Asian friends. Most need a visit or a transit visa to even set foot in an American airport & these visas are no longer approved like they used to pre 9/11.

And so like everything else that's expensive on this rock, so is travelling. In the wake of 9/11, security personnel add ons have caused airport fees to rise to asinine levels. Of course the burden is borne by the customer who is liable for these costs for both the departure & arrival ports. How nice! Add to that Air Canada, like other airlines, are blissfully aware of the sheer number of it's country's citizens working as expats in Bermuda & are honning in on their strategy of price discrimination. Especially during Christmas. Come on airliners, give us a break in this season of giving!

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