The profiteering bastards!

Families hoping for a school holiday getaway next week face hefty half-term price hikes on the railways – with even the cheapest tickets costing up to double what they would in term time.

Look! Just as demand goes up prices do!

Reminds me of the little old granny in Moscow, just after Yeltsin freed food prices. She asked, well, Easter is coming so everyone needs eggs for the celebration. Why have they put the prices up just when everyone needs them?

This happens so often you’d almost think there was some natural explanation or summat.

25 comments on “The profiteering bastards!

  1. On a related note, if you ever want to see the mask slip on Britain’s latent fascists, go and read a web discussion about whether parents should be allowed to take their kids out of school during term-time.

  2. FTA

    “The ‘Advance’ saver tickets, for a fixed time with no flexibility, are usually made available up to 12 weeks in advance of travel with prices starting low and then rising in stages as the cheapest ones are sold out.

    But watchdogs say customers have no idea how many are available at the cheapest prices.”

    Jesus Christ. The whole point of things like advanced tickets is that people don’t know how many are left, so they book them far (ahem) in advance.

  3. re: The Stigler

    That’s the problem with our current crop of consumers. I swear, somewhere along the way the book of common sense and economic logic got misplaced and none is the wiser.

  4. Tim Newman – “On a related note, if you ever want to see the mask slip on Britain’s latent fascists, go and read a web discussion about whether parents should be allowed to take their kids out of school during term-time.”

    Suggest that the better solution is to allow schools to move their term time. See if anyone’s head explodes.

  5. Have they ever considered the alternative? If you don’t ration by price, you ration by lottery or waiting list, like the NHS. Would Mr and Mrs Averagely-Dim be any happier if they had to put their name down for a half term holiday 6 months in advance and then take pot luck whether they got one? And if they didn’t get in early they’d be staying at home?

  6. Jim – “Have they ever considered the alternative? If you don’t ration by price, you ration by lottery or waiting list, like the NHS.”

    Or you ration by over-crowding. As beaches do. Hard to do with airplanes, but common on railways. Especially in the Third World. You can get a ticket at the same old price, but instead of a comfortable seat, you get to sit on the roof.

  7. Seems to me there’s also the possibility of raising capacity, which is presumably the alternative people think they want – without considering the cost, of course.

  8. Jim,
    Rationing by waiting list is actually very popular amongst the chattering classes. They’re the ones who are sufficiently organised to get on the list early; and they’re the ones who can usually find a loophole or two.

    Part of the cachet of events such as Glastonbury or Wimbledon is the huge fuss around merely obtaining tickets. A half-decent pricing system would eliminate the inefficient queues, but they provide free publicity.

  9. Oddly, the Daily Mail has completely the opposite opinion to high demand raising prices for housing. Strange, that.

    I’ve said it before to these economic ignoramuses who whine about higher holiday prices in term time – would you sell your house at the market price or what I consider the ‘fair’ price (30% lower)?

    Guess the answer (post-bluster)

  10. In France there are three holiday zones which stagger mid-term holidays by a week. Works pretty well.

  11. So Much For Subtlety
    May 20, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Suggest that the better solution is to allow schools to move their term time. See if anyone’s head explodes.

    Being married to an erstwhile teacher the only think that you could suggest that would be worse is shortening the school holidays so that the little darlings have more of a chance to learn something.
    Jim
    May 20, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Have they ever considered the alternative? If you don’t ration by price, you ration by lottery or waiting list, like the NHS. Would Mr and Mrs Averagely-Dim be any happier if they had to put their name down for a half term holiday 6 months in advance and then take pot luck whether they got one? And if they didn’t get in early they’d be staying at home?Jim, you haven’t been paying full attention. What the whiners expect is to pay the same rate as those out of season, without rationing. Why they think a Greek hotel owner would sell a cheap room to a British tour company rather than at the market rate to a German tour company is never asked by our equally hard of thinking press.

  12. I can see why parents are annoyed though, since it’s not their demand. The demand has been forced upon them by schools / govts demanding penalties if they take their kids out during term time.

    Allow parents five days (or whatever) leeway a year taken whenever they wish and the problem would disappear overnight. I realise the schools always scream blue murder about this, but given that you could easily lose five days a year through illness, truancy, or whavever, I think we can file that one under ‘special pleading’.

    QV a discussion last week, those of us at private schools will probably have been in a position where the school didn’t mind in the least if your parents wanted to take you away for a week, always so long as it wasn’t close to important exams and that your parents guaranteed it was educational. And – in extremis – promised to force you to do some work.

  13. Andrew M>

    Those you mention are also a type more likely to be able to afford to pay for holiday plans well in advance.

    Sam>

    I’m not sure quite how it works these days, but I’d be very surprised if permission isn’t still granted for unavoidable family trips and so-on. You just have to check the rules and then phrase your ‘request’ the right way.

  14. “But watchdogs say customers have no idea how many are available at the cheapest prices.”

    That phrasing is a little odd. If you like the look of a price, why not book it? I assume they really want to know how long the prices will last so they can procrastinate. To help them along, the various travel sites that I use, including rail and airline companies’ own sites, are usually only too keen to point out when only a few rooms or seats remain at the current discounted price. (A few of the booking sites have been rumoured to cheat a little bit there.)

  15. @Tim Newman

    Dear Head Teacher,

    This letter is to confirm that little Johnny is currently sick with H24N64 and has been confined to home. He’ll be back in around 2 weeks but a little darker due to the virus. The doctor’s note will arrive next week when I’ve got him the £30.

    Yours,
    Dedicated Parent

  16. In support of the supply and demand aspect of the original post, I should add that it can work both ways. For several years, I’ve found that certain business class tickets suddenly became cheaper during holidays, perhaps because everyone’s on holiday that would normally fly on business, or because people are avoiding the week with all those families about messing up the airports. For several years running, at certain times, I found business class seats for the family that were cheaper than the economy seats on the same flight. Brilliant!

  17. @Dave: “I’m not sure quite how it works these days, but I’d be very surprised if permission isn’t still granted for unavoidable family trips and so-on. You just have to check the rules and then phrase your ‘request’ the right way.”

    Of course, if your unavoidable family trip is to Pakistan to marry off your 14 yo daughter to an illiterate goat herder, then you’ll have no problem getting permission.

    However taking your kids on a beach holiday to Spain won’t be given a look in.

  18. CHF,

    “That phrasing is a little odd. If you like the look of a price, why not book it?”

    You’ve spoken to some friends to arrange a meetup in the city in a couple of weeks. But you know that the day before that you might get a cold. Do you want to buy a ticket now or the day before?

  19. @sam: after I sat my scholarship exam for public school (and won it) my parents took me out of prep school for two weeks so we could go on holiday to Austria. And at public school if they wanted to take you off on a jaunt for a bit (within reason) no questions were asked. It’s amazing how proximity of payer to piper affects which tunes are played.

  20. Didn’t David “First in PPE’ Cameron express concern about how high prices were in school holidays? I have to confess being surprised given that his clear understanding of all things economic is otherwise so rigorous………

  21. I can’t remember who said this, but I like it:

    Petrol prices have increased. It’s a disaster. House prices have fallen. It’s a disaster. It would be interesting to know what a non-disaster looks like.

  22. Seriously ,what does marginal theory say about this? Might be that when occupancy rates reach capacity, the system carries fewer vacant units which don’t have to be cross subsidised by the ones that are occupied.

  23. @Sam

    “QV a discussion last week, those of us at private schools will probably have been in a position where the school didn’t mind in the least…”

    This has certainly been my experience, and I’ve stated that before here too – not last week; I must have missed that thread.

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