Once in a while I dream about going on a well deserved vacation.
For a few hours I mobilize myself into finding info on a sunny spot. Sometimes it is Cancun, sometimes Malta or Tenerife, depending on the mood of the day.
Almost every time it boils down to how expensive it would be and suddenly my enthusiasm is gone.
At one point I put in balance an all-inclusive (flight included) offered by one travel agency vs. contact the hotel and book the plane ticket on your own.
Searching for a non stop flight to Cancun, I found an offer with AirTransat. Non stop flight from Vancouver to Cancun for about $970 round trip.
Nothing wrong with that, only that the listed price did not include all the other hidden costs, which when added to the original offer, brought the price up to about $1200.
As a rule, here in Canada and for that matter, in the U.S as well, advertised airfares won’t include taxes, fuel surcharges and other fees.
Other fees include: Canada Airport improvements, Canada Security charge, Canada Goods and Services Tax (GST); if you fly into the U.S. you pay U.S. Security charge, if you fly into U.K. you must add U.K.Passenger Service Charge.
Very often an advertised price of $699 ends up as being $1,100.
At this point you may think that the cheapest way around would be to choose a not very expensive airline. With that it comes other hidden dangers.
Like the following case, circulated via emails… hoax or not? it’s hard to say, but definitely it raises suspicions.
So here we are:
For anybody who is not familiar with a jet engine, a jet fan blade should be perfectly smooth.
A pilot for a Chinese carrier requested permission and landed at FRA (Frankfurt, Germany) for an unscheduled refuelling stop. The reason became soon apparent to the ground crew: The Number 3 engine had been shutdown previously because of excessive vibration, and because it didn’t look too good. It had apparently been no problem for the tough guys back in China: as they took some sturdy straps and wrapped them around two of the fan blades and the structures behind, thus stopping any unwanted wind-milling (engine spinning by itself due to airflow passing through the blades during flight) and associated uncomfortable vibration caused by the sub optimal fan.
Note that the straps are seat belts….how resourceful! After making the ‘repairs’, off they went into the wild blue yonder with another revenue-making flight on only three engines! With the increased fuel consumption, they got a bit low on fuel, and just set it down at the closest airport (FRA-Frankfurt) for a quick refill.
That’s when the problems started: The Germans, who are kind of picky about this stuff, inspected the malfunctioning engine and immediately grounded the aircraft. (Besides the seat belts, notice the appalling condition of the fan blades.) The airline operator had to send a chunk of money to get the first engine replaced (took about 10 days). The repair contractor decided to do some impromptu inspection work on the other engines, none of which looked all that great either. The result: a total of 3 engines were eventually changed on this plane before it was permitted to fly again.