The real cost of flying
What really needs to be done for consumers to avoid empty shopping carts.
Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash
It is that time of year to pack the bags and disappear from the heat of summer in the Middle East to the green hills and fresh air (and great food) of Europe. To get there is only a short 6-hour flight for us so it’s an easy trip. However, the process of buying airline tickets from this part of the world is never easy. Now given I do live in a badly branded area called - “The Middle East” - I do understand how this could impact this. However, there are a lot of people living here without any terrorist tendencies who are normal everyday people who work, eat and sleep and just want to spend their hard earned income like anyone else in the consumption capitals of the West.
The excitement of a booking a holiday online is dampened once you get to the payment page of my airline. My stress starts here: One national carrier will only accept their own country’s creditcards which happens to be in my husband name. If I purchased using this card I would then need to show a letter from my husband giving me permission to use the card when I travel. This is the the same card I use everyday - too much my husband would say. I wouldn't label myself a strong feminist but this just grates on me and my principles. So forget about using that card. The second card I use has a security pin sent to my mobile to finalise the transaction. However I wait with baited breath for a text that never comes.
So I try a third credit card. One that is from my home country but is not my birth country or my current country of residence. Confusing right? It has my name on it (not my husbands) and it's my phone number. So far so good. I make the long distance call. The international long distance beeps are making me hyperventilate as I punch through the phone automation system - the cost of this call is probably more than the cost of the flight. I speak to a wonderful operator from my Bank and speaks with my accent and uses slang that I know. I am elated. I am closer to that holiday. Just one more step and we are done. It's all down to once again waiting for a confirmation text that, yip you guessed it, never comes. AGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH
I wonder how can this be a true global market? There are online boarders and restrictions everywhere. There are great growth predictions for online shopping in emerging markets such as Indonesia as well as Mexico and China (https://www.statista.com/statistics/534123/e-commerce-share-of-retail-sales-worldwide/) but unless there are better alternatives and connectivity with the banking industry will this be fruitless? Anyone ever tried using Amazon USA with a foreign credit card will know the pain. Online marketers try their hardest to stop customers abandoning a sale. Sometimes it’s not the customer's or the products fault but the many external forces that hinder us, banking or security come to my mind of course. Have we gone too far with consumer protection - assume everyone is guilty therefore shopping baskets remain empty? Where has the currency of trust gone?
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