The airline industry has an interesting way of defining free: by charging you for it.
In fact, the airline industry complicates “free” so much, that it’s going to take a few One Big Yodel posts to cover just how complicated free can be.
Let’s start with fares for infants, since Ms. One Big Yodel now has one.
Supposedly, infants (defined by children under two) fly free. I decided to test this theory by booking a flight.
Here’s what “free” means, defined by two different airlines for the same round-trip flight:
ZURICH to CHICAGO on SWISS
-Fare CHF 44
-Fuel Surcharge CHF 328
-Airport taxes CHF 52
TOTAL “FREE” FARE: CHF 424 ($460)
ZURICH to CHICAGO on UNITED (same code-share flight as SWISS)
Infant price: $106.40 (includes one 5-minute dropped call, one 45-minute phone call with a non-native English speaker, and plenty of bad on-hold music to determine)
TOTAL “FREE” FARE: $106.40
1) As we all knew, nothing is free in Switzerland
2) The USA is no longer the Land of the Free but is still much cheaper than Switzerland
3) The only thing free about the infant ticket was the headache it took to figure out the best price
Have you been amazed by the airline industry recently?