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$420.40, $2741.49 or $12686.67 to Melbourne, anyone?

Emirates would so far in all my looks around airlines' and travel agents' websites take out the prize for the most expensive economy fare 'to' Melbourne. ('To' would be the operative word here -- it depends whether oddly-suggested connections like the ones I found below count.) For interest about how much their air fares to Melbourne, from Auckland, were, I entered in leaving on 1 July 2005 and arriving back 7 July 2005.

(Of course, computer search results always a level of real humanity and human discernment applied to them, but sometimes some of the results are, well, weird.)

The first option seemed reasonable. $420.40 (including $82.40 in taxes) taking the afternoon 4.00 flight EK405 from Auckland, and returning on the morning 8.15 EK404 from Melbourne. (It's $1063.40, tax $82.40 on first class.)

It gets a bit odd here. The second option is for $2421.49 (taxes $89.49). It uses the same EK405 flight out, but takes an evening EK407 from Melbourne to Dubai! Then the following day, it takes the evening 8.45 EK432 from Dubai. Fortunately, that's direct to Auckland. Arriving back two days later than expected.

Now, the third option gets worse. A whopping $12686.67 (taxes $103.67). How? Going out from Auckland to Singapore (1 July, afternoon 5.25 EK433), then to Melbourne (2 July, afternoon 3.20 EK404). Going back, it's to Dubai first (7 July, evening 9.30 EK407), then Bangkok (8 July, morning 8.50am EK386), and then finally home to Auckland (8 July, evening, EK418).

The second option on a first class search is nearly as amusing. Flying out it takes the third economy option's route (Auckland to Melbourne via Singapore). At least it's sane for the flight back (taking that 8.15 EK404). Price? $6301.49 (taxes $89.49).

I wonder if they're trying to upsell accomodation at each stop?

Now, I haven't mentioned business class. Like both economy and first class, the first option's very sane ($1013.40, taxes $82.40). Option 2 goes there (EK433, 1 July, 5.25 afternoon; EK404, 2 July, 3.20 afternoon), and back (EK405, 7 July, 7.20 evening; EK432, 8 July, 9.20 evening) via Singapore for a modest $10806.58 (taxes $96.58).

Here we start getting in to new car territory. For $16927.58 (taxes $96.58), you can go to (EK433, 1 July, 5.25 afternoon, on first class; EK406, 2 July, 10.10 morning) Melbourne via Dubai and back (EK407, 7 July, 9.30 evening; EK418, 8 July, 9.00 morning).

This last one's the best, though. Unlike the roughly $17000 fare above, if you take EK432 (8 July, 8.45 morning) on first class (the engine appears to default to first class when it can't find the right seats), you pay a gold-plated $18322.48 (taxes $96.58).

I guess their search engine's Please wait while we find the lowest priced combinations of available flights and fares... has some odd issues it needs to solve. In the meantime, they're amusing if only for a few moments.

Ah, the joys one has when clicking on the odd banner advertisement while reading the NZH and getting distracted. I need better things to do. Oh, and regards to the above: E&OE. So there.


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