Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Fayre Traffic Control

27 April 2017

It’s the most important document in your airline seat pocket. That safety card is vital, but if you’re an operator it’s the in-flight price list that gets more important every day. As margins get tighter, airlines prepare for the former, but hope it’s the latter that’s closely studied.

It may not be the most glamourous dining experience you ever have, but the complementary in-flight meal is the soothing balm to which the beleaguered passenger can still look forward. A hot bite of something at least edible, is most welcome after the indignities meted out from the moment the drop-off charge is extracted as soon as your ground transport enters the same postcode as the airport, to the intimate security procedures that would have a proctologist apologising. Regrettably, even that flying crumb of comfort is no longer guaranteed.

The dolls house dinner, the micro-midday meal, and even the very petit déjeuner, have all gone the way of silver service and cheerful flight attendants. A growing list of airlines have abolished the short-haul inclusive meal, and may do the same on long-haul as well. Specialists Cheapflights say that two-thirds of all popular airlines have cut the free food and it’s now cash for catering if you don’t want to starve while traversing the famished skies.

For the business traveller, struggling with laptop bans, hand luggage restrictions, and the airport bus fare that couldn’t cost more per mile if it was operated by a jet, taxiing round the park and ride; it’s enough to drive you to rail travel.

What could make more sense than cutting your carbon footprint and stretching out on the six-five special. Avoid all those usurious transfers to and from the airport, by getting on the train at your local station. Couldn’t be simpler. Except of course, it could. With 16 million fares available across the UK network, and a bewildering combination of advance and walk up prices ranging from pennies to a fortune, it’s enough to make a king cross. Getting the right deal is about as easy as finding a table in standard class on a short-formed multiple unit.

There are well-worn anecdotes about point to point rail travel outpacing equivalent flights, and a decent snack in the air costing more than the flight itself. Puzzling over whether you’ve made the right ticket choice can be difficult enough, without the added annoyance of deciding if £2.55 is too much for a bag of crisps (not according to Icelandair, says Cheapflights) or if you really have done well enough in your meeting to deserve a celebratory £9.80 gin and tonic on an Iberian service.

Savvy travellers have always avoided as much as they can of the little extras that add up to a questionable expenses claim. Simple things like eschewing the Heathrow Express for the Victoria Line, or stocking up on some savouries at the local supermarket, rather than the on-board trolley service, can be a significant saving. Where though, do you draw the line, if your sandwich and a sundae comes from the Waitrose on York Way, instead of the Kings Cross buffet, and is it acceptable to claim for that extra legroom charge, if the alternative is a thrombosis-inducing middle aisle seat in the back row?

Before you get cleared for rip off, a word with Springfords will smooth your flight path. Travel expenses can be as complicated, especially as the once all-inclusive airfare is becoming increasingly unravelled into a dogfight of parking charges, fast track check-in, seat allocation charges, food that’s more expensive than eating gold dust, and ground transportation options that are as sinuous as the approach to Glasgow Central; then might we suggest making your travel less taxing by expressing your concerns to us. We’ll get your travel expenses all on board, with a valid ticket. Coffee and a biscuit most certainly included, and there’s no charge for a seat with plenty legroom.

About the Springfords blog

springfords blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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