Air miles should be axed (or taxed) to deter frequent fliers, report advises

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This topic contains 46 replies, has 28 voices, and was last updated by  Polly 1 Nov 2019
at 07:30
.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 48 total)

  • K1ngston
    Participant

    No business person has the time to make useless ‘status’ flights. We fly because we need to. More often than not, status is more about lounge access and pre-boarding, then FFP. Of course it is easy to ask to tax a ‘smaller’ interest group. Maybe all the cheap Low Cost carrier flights, such as EUR 50 from Hamburg to Rome should be taxed on their real value. My guess is that there are thousands more of useless ‘party flights being done then business
    flights, polluting the environment.

    I tend to agree with you NCAS but maybe we all have flown with a particular airline to maintain and gain when we could have flown a different route etc, I have to say I did back in the day before I received my lifetime Gold with the worlds most overrated airline!!!


    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    Well as a “snowflake” liberal – LP – 😉 – I agree with Capetonian on the carbon offsetting point and as much as I find they are well intentioned, many are a complete con and the ability to charge people 5,10,20,100, 1000+ times for essentially the same/one lightbulb / tree planting worries me. It is open to abuse and there doesn’t seem to be any regulation of these schemes or any (consistent) measure of outcome.

    I’m all for them – I just don’t trust them as far as I could proverbially throw them. If they can be measured so you can see outcomes (which in itself need to be debated / assessed) I’d happily recommend to clients suitable schemes (I get asked a lot), but there are none I can say – this is a great scheme – and likewise even going to someone like Friends of the Earth who you would think would point people in the right direction gives little clarity (from my limited research). Goes to show the Offsetting industry has a lot of questions marks hanging over it.

    So not to say don’t do it – but I’m sure better ways to actually make a difference to carbon emissions (like get on your bike more, drive less, eat less meat, fly less! and so on).

    On the point of FF schemes. If there was a global approach (or at least on an pan regional basis) you could remove the points element for redeeming for free flights. You could however still have the Tier Point concept to reward loyalty and allow for upgrades on flights. I think ultimately taxing FF schemes massively misses the point (having this argument with my partner 2 nights ago with some friends). In UK at least I’d rather see a massive effort to make roads / transport hubs more cycling friendly like the Dutch and far more integrated transport solutions between buses/bikes/rail. If that costs £20-30bn initial cost then great – take it out of the road budget. Whilst we bang on about flights (which do need to be looked at) we overlook the one of the biggest polluters of all – driving emissions.

    If we are going to tax flights more, then tax the **** out of people taking LHR-MAN hops (or PAR-LYS) for example as standalone sectors. £13 seems to cheap in UK. I’d take those £30 per sector. Push people onto the train. Anything where you have at least say 1 train an hour on an hourly basis and journey average on an Intercity service is under 3/4 hours – then tax them for all they’re worth. If that changes peoples habits and culture around flying these sectors then great.

    Likewise – if people are a few Tier Points short (or equivalent), let them purchase those points for a nominal fee (or even purchase a ticket – submit it to airline to advise a “TP” run and then get a 50% refund of that flight (if done say within 24 hours of booking) and TP’s for the flight that would have been taken. At least enables that seat to be taken by someone who might actually need it. 2nd point shouldn’t need to happen if say you could buy 25 Tier Points for £100.

    Anyway – snowflake liberal signing off! 😉

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Swissdiver
    Participant

    https://www.rts.ch/play/tv/mise-au-point/video/vols-en-avion-ou-va-vraiment-largent-des-compensations-carbone?id=10659537

    This is French, sorry. In a nutshell, these journalists demonstrated the lack of efficiency of these carbon offset schemes that mostly enrich intermediaries and consultants…

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Cedric_Statherby
    Participant

    I see the question as just one part of a much larger one.

    Air travel is for some a necessity, for some a leisure activity and for the planet a major polluter. But even if it is agreed that the industry’s carbon footprint is too high and needs to be reduced (and there are of course plenty of people who will deny that even today), the range of options open to society at large is wide and there is no consensus on what to do. And how do you ensure you are tackling the root of the problem not merely attacking a symptom – as any attack on FFP will be (the airlines would simply find another way to reward their loyal customers, and people will always find a way to game whatever system they come up with to replace FFP).

    And of course it is not just air travel that can be seen through this prism of “What did you do in the Great Climate Change War?”. There are a whole range of industries where the question Society needs to address is whether or not we should allow companies whose products we enjoy but whose by-products we deplore or the planet cannot afford to carry out their business, promote their wares, or even exist at all.

    For the airline industry, one can ask:
    > Should we make flying as unpleasant as possible (long delays, crowded skies, strict baggage rules)?
    > Should we ration everyone to 4 flights a year (and see the creation of a secondary market in “flight permits”)?
    > Should we increase yet further the taxes on air travel to discourage consumption (this is the approach society takes to alcohol)?
    > Should we heavily curtail the industry’s ability to advertise (the approach taken to tobacco)?
    > Should we simply ban non-electric planes by say 2035 (the approach taken to petrol/diesel cars)?

    Which are not easy questions! And even if one country can agree on a way forward, how do you get agreement between nations on a course of action?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Cwyfan
    Participant

    Is it a conflict of interest if the authors work for a firm that bans the collection of loyalty perks when travelling on their business trips? If so, then all this appears to say is that if we are unable to have them, then neither should anyone else. Perhaps at least they should have declared their situation.


    Travelfoot
    Participant

    Those against FF programs can take comfort in that United have just announced changes to their FFP that would make it near impossible to make any status and enjoy any benefits unless you are First or business class subscriber. I have been a loyal United customer for 28 years and apart from some opportunistic flights and a few necessary flights with other operators I enjoyed the program by making Gold for several years. At one time voted the best FFP it had already begun to devalue in the last few years by huge reductions to award miles that would take years to collect redeemable miles and lately to status qualifying miles. As if that was not enough, from January 2020 economy customers like myself who enjoyed perks like priority check-in, baggage and lounge benefits will nurse a distant memory of these but will still travel by finding the most economical tickets on any airline. I still need to travel and have searched for alternative FF programs and found that others are no different in only appealing to high revenue customers who do not need to subscribe or be loyal to single airline as they are at a level to enjoy these perks anyway.


    handbag
    Participant

    How can you tax a standby ticket at the same value as a confirmed space ticket?
    If an airline employee has a standby ticket in Y class and gets upgraded to F on his holiday trip, does that ticket then become taxable at the value of an F ticket, and if so at what fare level, full, discount, deep discount, one way, return ….?
    If an employee has a standby ticket, taxed against a value of ‘x’, and he doesn’t get on the flight and suffers consequent expenses, are those expenses deductible from the deemed value of the ticket?

    I could give umpteen further examples.

    None of your above examples are relevant to what I stated. I stated that the tickets provided by employees to friends and family members be taxed.
    Your examples are for airline employees travelling.
    I don’t know about the carrier you worked for, but the one I worked for had very stringent rules on the class of service friends and family could travel in. If tickets were for economy they would travel in economy; it would be extremely rare for an upgrade to J or F to occur. And once travel had occurred, systems did keep a record of the class traveled in. A very simple matter to reconcile.

    British Airways has a very complex staff travel system. I can purchase a “standby ticket” – I may or may not get on in economy and if I do, I could be on a jump seat. I can also purchase a “J priority standby ticket”, this costs approx double the price. I might get a J seat, I might get an Economy seat, I might get a jump seat or I might not get on the flight at all. The other advantage of the “J Priority Standby” is it puts me higher on the list above those on a standby only ticket. If I pay for the J priority standby and get either a crew seat or economy, I don’t get any refund, to the same price as someone who has purchased a “standby ticket” even though I have paid paid double for it. How complex would that be to work the tax out on that – paid fo J , but sat on a jump seat etc?. You are never put above the cabin grade you are due with these tickets. If there is no space available, a full fare pax is upgraded to make space or you do not get the seat.


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    What I would do is to tax redemption tickets at the fare market value or prohibit miles being awarded for tickets booked via corporate booking tools.

    What makes you think taxes aren’t paid on redemption flights (airport taxes etc are all charged in every case I am aware of)? If you mean taxed as a benefit (eg income tax) then aren’t you getting a bit confused between the concept of paying income tax on – well, income, and paying tax on expenditure??


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    I am not quoting TimFitzgeraldTC’s post because it is far too long (and the new forum software doesn’t allow you to edit the quoted text in order to show only the parts you want to respond to), but he makes a couple of excellent points. I know that Finnair permit people who are somewhat short of renewing/upgrading to buy status points – we did this for Senior Offspring last year because it was cheaper to buy the extra status points for her to get Silver status (and hence lounge access) than to renew the (limited – 12 visits per year) Priority Pass membership we had bought for her the previous year. The environment is happy, Finnair are happy, Senior Offspring was very happy – the only losers were Priority Pass and their lounges! I would have done the same myself earlier this year to get the 15 status points I needed to get a mid-tier benefit with CX (provided the price was right).

    He also talks about vehicle emissions. Most people focus on CO2 emissions which are only a small part of the problem – one of the most significant polluters on any vehicle is the brakes. Any car owner which doesn’t have “closed” wheels will be aware of the black dust that rapidly accumulates on the metal parts of their wheels – no prizes for guessing where that comes from! So one of the best ways to reduce pollution is to reduce the amount of braking, which means getting rid of unnecessary traffic lights and (particularly) speed-humps (which cause a double-whammy as drivers brake on approach then burn more fuel to accelerate afterwards) and traffic lights and anything else which causes unnecessary braking. In an ideal world, in any area where roads required regular stops (I do accept that traffic lights are necessary in some places!), they would design the roads in the same way that a number of underground lines were designed, with the stations/lights at higher points and the tracks/roads between them at lower elevations so that trains/vehicles have “gravity-assist” both in accelerating away from stations/lights and decelerating on the next approach. Probably too difficult to do above ground, though!

    I personally also think that all airports and airlines should be forced to use tow trucks for all taxi-ing operations. Jet engines (in particular, but in fact all aero engines) are notoriously inefficient at taxi-ing speeds and vast amounts of fuel are wasted. At larger airports, where one can be taxi-ing for fifteen minutes or more, I am sure this would represent a significant saving – not just in pollution but in costs. In fact, I am astonished someone hasn’t already twigged to this and implemented it!

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Mikeact
    Participant

    BA long haul ‘charges’ are steep enough,revenue or reward, without adding a further layer of some form of taxation on top.


    Mikeact
    Participant

    FFP programmes have changed dramatically over the years, and continue to be devalued. It is definitely much more difficult to obtain premium seats than ever before, assuming that you can’t be flexible with dates and routing etc. So, it seems to me that all schemes are slowly but surely being scaled back. I remember in the early 80’s when a free flight was a free flight.
    At least in the UK we don’t have credit card companies offering 100k miles/points sign up offers.


    Mikeact
    Participant

    My AA membership started in 1982. I was given a number on a piece of card ! In fact, it is still the same number I have today, only plastic not card.


    TiredOldHack2
    Participant

    prohibit miles being awarded for tickets booked via corporate booking tools.

    So people will just book corporate travel without using the tools? This is impractical.


    TiredOldHack2
    Participant

    all airports and airlines should be forced to use tow trucks for all taxi-ing operations

    Would a tow truck be able to clear a taxiway quickly enough, in an emergency? I really don’t know how fast the things go!


    Montysaurus
    Participant

    This is yet another of these “good” ideas that have not actually been thought through. Governments are especially good at this nonsense.

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