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AIRPORT RIPOFF

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DISGUSTING GOUGING OF TRAVELLERS

There are many things to avoid in life and one of them is the systematic gouging and ripping off of airline passengers. So if you play it smart, you will be aware of these disgraceful scams - and as far as I am concerned, charging 3 to 5 times the normal price of a product is a scam. Most airports in the world rip off travellers, simply because airport operators know that they literally have a captive audience who have no alternative to purchase reasonably priced goods. The following example is for Sydney Airport, but most airports are the same.

ARRIVING AT SYDNEY AIRPORT

There are a number of choices for travellers going to Sydney Airport - Airport Link train, taxis, buses and private cars.

AIRPORT LINK TRAIN - We all know about the infamous Great Train Robbery in Britain, but there is another type of Great Train Robbery happening in Sydney every day. This is the cost of using the Airport Link train from the Sydney CBD to Sydney Airport, a very short distance. The fares can only be described as a monumental ripoff and should be avoided at all times. Although the Airport Link train runs on the same rails as the rest of the CityRail trains and uses the same trains, the fares are ridiculously steep because the Airport Link is a private company. The former NSW Labor government was too inept to provide a train line to the most important facility in Sydney, so it farmed this project out to a private company that is now gouging travellers like a robber baron.

In 2020, if you bought a normal single adult fare to take a train that went four stations on the normal CityRail network, let's say from Artarmon to North Sydney, it would have cost $3.61 using an Opal card. But the ticket to or from an Airport station comprises a Gate Pass and a rail component. The Adult Gate Pass is $14.90. This amount is added to the rail ticket of $3.61, making a total of $18.51.

Travelling from Sydney CBD and Sydney Airport in peak times will cost an adult the same fare as to go to any other destination on the rail network, but to get in and out of the Sydney Airport train station will cost nearly $15 each time.

So if two people are going from the Sydney CBD to the Domestic Terminal at Sydney Airport in peak times, the one-way adult fares on the Airport Link train would cost them a total of $37.02 to essentially travel on the Sydney rail network from Central Station, through Green Square, Mascot and arriving at Sydney Domestic Airport.

As the airport domestic and international terminals are only a few kilometres from the Sydney CBD, the cab fare would be around $25 to $30 at the most and using Uber would be cheaper. So what is a better proposition? Two people lugging bags on and off a train to get to the airport, or just catching a cab or Uber right to the terminal door for a cheaper and much more convenient experience?

So next time you are thinking of going to Sydney airport, just boycott the Airport Link train completely, because it really is The Great Airport Train Robbery. Just park your car on a street near the airport that has no parking restrictions, catch the bus or a cab to the terminal and never pay exorbitant parking fees or that ripoff Airport Link train fare. The Airport Link train should be boycotted because it is a disgraceful piece of daylight robbery.

TAXIS - For two or more travellers without their own cars, using taxis is one of the good options. A taxi fare from Sydney CBD to Sydney Airport will cost between $30 and $35. This is already cheaper than the Airport Link train and if four people are travelling, then it will cost each of them around $8. Using Uber or other ride-sharing service is even cheaper. Unfortunately Uber has reached an agreement with the operators of Sydney Airport to not pick up passengers, however Uber can drop people off at airport terminals.

BUSES - The number 400 bus runs from Bondi Junction and the number 420 bus runs from Burwood to Sydney Airport. If you live anywhere near those routes or are willing to drive to suburbs along those routes, you can park your car in a side street with no parking restrictions, catch the bus straight to the Domestic or International terminals for the cost of the return bus fare. For people over 60 years old, that will cost them $2.50, which beats the hell out of being gouged for the shockingly expensive car parking at the airport. I have done this a few times when flying interstate for a day or two and it's all too easy.

PICKING UP PASSENGERS

These days, it's all too easy to avoid being ripped off by expensive parking fees when picking up passengers and that is because just about everybody has a mobile phone. So the trick is to find a spot just outside the airport perimeter where you can park without getting booked. Arrange with your arriving friends to call you on the phone when they have disembarked and have collected their bags and are about to walk out of the terminal. Tell them to wait at the passenger pickup point outside the terminal and just drive into the airport precinct and pick them up and drive out again. That is how to avoid paying a single cent at the airport and it's so simple.

WHEN TRAPPED AT THE AIRPORT

Food and drink are always more expensive at the airport and stores there simply charge ridiculously high prices, especially in areas where passengers cannot leave, such as transit lounges. Sydney Airport is one of the worst offenders and has been so, ever it was privatised and the Macquarie Bank bought it. Here are some examples of the massive extent of the gouging that goes on at Sydney Airport that would make a bushranger green with envy.

For instance in 2019, a 560 gram jar of Vegemite cost about $8 in Woolworths. That exact jar of Vegemite was priced at a whopping $19 at a Sydney Airport shop. A bottle of water that normally sells for $2.15 at a superrmarket was on sale at Sydney Airport for $9.17. These airport stores are beyond belief with their outrageous gouging of travellers, so make a list of what you want to take on your travels and purchase those items before you get to the airport and you will save a lot of money and have the satisfaction of giving those airport shops the finger.

The fast food chain outlets at Sydney Airport still charge about the same as the ones in the suburbs, so if you can handle McDonalds and Subway, that's about the best food option. Other non-chain food outlets charge an arm and a leg for food, so the smart thing is to avoid buying anything from them.