Illustration: Simon Bosch

Illustration: Simon Bosch

Why do airlines charge more for a return ticket from Australia to Europe than for a return ticket in the other direction?

Nine times out of ten, an Australian traveller heading for Europe will pay more for their return ticket than a European travelling in the opposite direction, even when they are travelling at the same season.

It's maddening, unfair, unjustified and a downright ripoff, and there is no reason for it. The airlines gouge us because they can.

Australians also pay more for Apple products, clothing, for most software and electronic gear.

There might be some justification for a higher price when a retailer is selling a physical commodity and has to cover the cost of higher wages that are paid to sales staff in Australia, but in the case of an air ticket, the cost of selling a ticket to an Australian is exactly the same as it is to anyone anywhere else in the world.

The only way to ensure a level playing field is through consumer protection legislation, and in Australia that legislation lags behind that of Europe and North America. Not until the ACCC gets a big stick and goes into battle will we pay no more for our travels than the rest of the world.

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