And guess how much they had to pay to park?
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Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Traveling with your family is rarely easy, especially if it involves a plane.
You have to get to the airport, you have to get through the airport and you have to hope that the plane is at the gate, the pilot is sober and the cabin crew haven’t been in a Tiki bar until two hours before takeoff.
You have to even hope the airline doesn’t try to charge you more for sitting next to your kids.
Every part of the journey seems to have a cost waiting to greet you.
Airport food seems to be priced by the folks at the French Laundry, without achieving quite the quality. On planes, too, the meals are basic and basically expensive. Add baggage fees, change fees and taxi rates and you know why you took that loan out.
Sometimes, you decide to drive to the airport and park. This is especially the case if your kids have a week’s break from school and you decide to fly to somewhere sunnier than the painfully-climated place where you live.
You know that airport parking rates aren’t cheap. Equally you know what they are in advance. Airport parking rates are fixed, right?
Until now, that is.
As the Independent reports, UK airports have been quietly hiking parking rates just to coincide with family vacations and school holidays.
Isn’t that thoughtful?
The Independent says that some airport parking lots charge double the usual rate.
They’ve realized that just because airlines have their hands deeply embedded in the pocket that houses your wallet, the other pocket might have some small change in it for them to grab.
In some cases, they find large change. The Independent says that at Edinburgh airport, airport operators look up to that summer sun (or at least imagine how warm it is in Greece, Spain, Malta and other vacation destination) and more than double the parking rates.
It can cost more to park than to fly to Milan.
Hardened business types will say that this is merely surge pricing. When there’s more demand, you can charge more.
Where, though, does it stop? It doesn’t.
Customers are now mere revenue streams. If they don’t like the charges, they can book an Uber instead.
Astonishingly, not every UK airport has caught on.
You may, though, enjoy one the alleged reasons for the price hikes. Airports say that budget airlines are negotiating lower landing fees, so the airports are simply having to find new ways to make more money.
The same people always end up paying: the travelers.
Some companies feel they cannot charge a captive audience enough. It’s the same with restaurants on Valentine’s Day, as it is with airlines just about every day other than Thanksgiving Day itself.
Why, many UK airports even charge for just picking up and dropping off your loved ones.
Of course, it’s not as if US airports haven’t caught on to the notion of parking as a beautiful flowing river of revenue.
Last year, Charlotte Observer columnist Mark Washburn was stunned into a stupor by how much parking rates at his local airport were being hiked. You see, the rates went up by 40 percent. He accused, gosh, American Airlines of being in on the deal.
Charlotte wasn’t alone. San Francisco also raised its long-term parking prices by 40 percent in 2016.
The notion of seasonal gouging is, though, an extra level of gratuitously unpleasant.
Please, therefore, be prepared when you’re meeting with your bank manager or loan shark to make sure you have enough for your family vacation.
What do you think? An extra $500 for unexpected incidentals, just in case? Or perhaps $1,000?
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.