Do you know what you pay for when you buy an airplane ticket?

The prices of a ticket vary depending on a number of factors that, at the time of purchase, are not entirely clear

Do you know what you pay for when you buy an airplane ticket?

To understand what is paid when buying an airline ticket, it must be clear that its cost can be divided, as the Avianca website shows, between air transportation charges and tax surcharges. For example, in a ticket from Bogota to Miami which costs US $ 440, US $ 282 are paid for air transport charges and US $ 158 corresponding to the taxes applicable to the trip.

Leer en español: ¿Sabe usted qué es lo que paga cuando compra un tiquete de avión?

Generally, the tax surcharges are relatively clear to the buyer. These can include the airport tax (the value charged to passengers for the use of airport facilities), the sales tax, the customs use fee (in the case of an international flight), among other possible surcharges which depend on whether it is a domestic flight or an international flight and in which country or to which country you are traveling to.

What it is usually not so clear is what includes the value corresponding to air transport charges, since these are generally not specified in the purchase details of an airline ticket, but are only mentioned. It is because of these charges that the price of the ticket may increase disproportionately in relation to the tax surcharges since, as is clear in Avianca's transportation contract, these rates are determined unilaterally by the airline. According to Wendover Productions , this includes the payment to the crew of the flight, the maintenance of the plane, the payment of the purchase of the airplane by the airline, the cost of fuel, and the service provided by the airline.

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So what is paid on the ticket?

Most air transport charges are relative to the type of aircraft on which you are going to travel and the distance that will be flown. The greater the capacity of passengers to have an aircraft, the costs involved in sending the plane from one place to another will be divided among more people.

For example, if an Airbus A320neo with a capacity of 154 passengers travels with a crew of six (pilot, co-pilot and four flight attendants), the salary of these six employees will be divided by 154. The same goes for maintenance and the cost of fuel, which changes according to the price of oil, the fuel capacity of the aircraft and the distance to travel.

With respect to the payment of the purchase of the airplane, for airlines to consider profitable to acquire an aircraft, they have to divide their price between the number of cycles of flight that this endures. Contrary to what one would intuitively think, the Baltic Aviation Academy explains that the useful life of an airplane is not measured according to the number of kilometers it can travel, but the number of times its cabin is pressurized and subsequently depressurized, as each pressurization generates microcracks that age the shot of the aircraft. Thus, given the useful life of an Airbus A320neo of 60,000 flight cycles , its price is divided by 60,000, a result that is divided among the 154 passengers of each trip that the plane will carry out.

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Finally, regarding the cost corresponding to the services provided by the airline, which is responsible - along with the fuel expense - for the constant fluctuation of airline ticket prices, not only should we talk about factors such as luxuries that they are held during the flight, but also of the demand and the own competence of the business of the airlines, affirms María Reig for El Mundo de España quoting British Airways. Naturally, airlines want to maximize their profits, which is achieved by filling the positions of each flight they offer, since each empty position means loss for them. To try to guarantee the sale of all possible tickets for a particular flight, airlines increase or decrease the cost of their services depending on what the situation requires: the higher the demand, the higher the price of the services provided; to lower demand, lower price will be.


Latin American Post | Juan Diego Bogotá
Translated from “¿Sabe usted qué es lo que paga cuando compra un tiquete de avión?”

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