Abu Dhabi: Most people feel that despite the increase in airfare being expected, they will not be able to cut down on yearly travel to their home countries.

The hike have come after some airlines stopped giving the seven per cent commission to travel agents. The agents will now pass on their commission costs to the passengers.

Sarika Aidasani, a consultant, feels the hike is understandable. "As the price of everything is increasing all around, it is understandable that flight prices increase too," she said. "A seven per cent increase is nominal; there are other things: necessities, where prices have gone up by more than 15 per cent."

Mohammad Sarhan doesn't feel he can keep up with the rise. "I earn a salary of Dh3,000 out of which Dh800 goes on shared room accommodation," he said. "With this increase I won't be able to afford going back home to visit my family and children as often." said Sarhan.

Essam Mohammad, a medical advisor, feels the decision is a reasonable one. "Prices on airline tickets were stable, so the increase is justifiable," he said. "Airlines are already losing money and cutting down on certain routes and destinations."

Kevin Anthony, Supervisor of Al Rostamani Travel Agency, said: "We are simply following the instructions of the Travel and Tourism Agencies Committee (ATT) who informed all travel agents to charge customers a seven per cent fare. We would be undercutting ourselves if we charge less than seven per cent."

Business class woes

Many individual complaints have been voiced to the agency, added Anthony. "We have received complaints on the extra fare which will not be significant to an economy class. The increase will mostly affect passengers flying business class.

"Passengers will revert to booking flights via the internet rather than through agencies. If we don't manage to make up for the difference of seven per cent, there's a possibility offices could close down and people may start to lose their jobs," he added.

Vivian Labib, Office Supervisor at Al Masood Travels, said the increase was expected.

"We have already charged this amount on most of our European carriers," said Labib. "British Airways were the first people to start off with the zero commissioning."

Iain Burns, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Etihad Airways told Gulf News that the airline regularly reviews all aspects of its service, including pricing, according to market conditions and demands.

"Commission levels of payments to travel agents worldwide are coming down and after reviewing its policy Etihad Airways has taken the decision to end the payment of such fees in the UAE from January 1, 2009," said Burns.

Qatar Airways Regional Manager, Abdul Qader Aziz, believes the decision will create transparency between airlines and customers. "Travellers have the right to know what they are paying for," said Aziz.

Do you plan to travel abroad in the coming days? Will the increase in flight fees affect your trip? Do you think the increase will discourage people from travelling in the future?

Your comments

Every year people travel on annual leave, it will be really difficult for the people earning salaries between 3k-5k, which means the mass segment would be effected.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: October 04, 2008, 10:33

I wish I could travel at least for a few days once in 6 months when there are some holidays coming up together and when my kids in India need me badly at least when they are sick or their examination time. But I earn only Dh2,500 in which after all the expenses born, I can hardly save little, which I have to send to India as I had taken loan to come abroad etc. Where on earth can I afford to go to my country with the airline price increase with a such small amount? If the airlines could cut down some costs and make it affordable for people like us it would be a dream come true.
Posted: October 04, 2008, 10:30