What price, knowledge? £1.60 a minute for BravoFly customers
We recently featured flight aggregator BravoFly on the pages of this mighty organ, after avid Bitterwallet reader Tony had a grumble about the initial price quoted and the final price he was expected to pay.
As our readers explained, part of the issue was one common to many similar sites - with so many flights and permutations therein, BravoFly won't quiz an airline's database for a more recent price until a specific flight is determined.
That still didn't explain why BravoFly is automatically opting customers into buying their customer care package, which lumps about 10 per cent on top of the cost. Now, a further issue with the company has been highlighted by another of our readers, Rob; the cost of calling BravoFly is extortionate.
Their website repeatedly directs customers to a 0906 number which costs €1.80 - about £1.60 - a minute from a UK landline. If you want to ask about refunds, cancellations or changes to your flights, there is no other way to contact the company. No email addresses are available, and only online forms can be filled in and submitted for other queries - in some instances, BravoFly helpfully suggest you can contact them by email if you'd rather not call customer services, which leads back into the circlejerk of repeatedly telling customers to call them. There's no listing for the company on Say No To 0870 to help you out, either.
Perhaps BravoFly aren't an exception - maybe it's standard practice for travel services to make their money from revenue share scheme associated with premium rate numbers? Nope.
Travel Supermarket make do with an 0845 number, which is bundled into some BT landline packages for free. Called from a mobile, a consumer usually pays between 10 and 20 pence.
British Airways has a choice of 0844 numbers for customers to call - that means BA will make a couple of pence per minute in revenue from every call
easyJet takes a different path - there are no phone numbers readily available for customers services on their website, and a relevant email address is hidden away on their corporate site. That said, their website allow passengers to change booking details and change flights online.
Finally, Ryanair have a doozy of a set-up. There's an 0871 number to speak to customer services - it costs 10 pence per minute, and will kick back around half of that to Ryanair. There's a 0905 premium rate number for "Priority Assistance", which suggests if you call the 0871 number you're going to get inferior treatment. The Priority Assistance number is a whopping £1 a minute - less than BravoFly, but still capable of generating a lot of money for Ryanair.
However - and this is truly is a masterstroke - if you're outraged about their scandalous premium rate charges, Ryanair have a dedicated number you can call to complain:
Our customer service number for complaints regarding our Premium Rate number is as follows 0844 2098715, £0.05 per minute.
Yes, Ryanair will still be making money when you phone them to complain about them making money. It's actually quite brilliant, in a slightly twattish way.
To summarise - it's a rum do when you're beating RyanAir in the greedy stakes, so it's congratulations (or commiserations) to BravoFly. The company does seem to get a regular kicking from consumers - are there any other avid readers with experience of BravoFly, good or bad?