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180,000 yuan for a ticket. Crack down on price-gouging of flight tickets
Published on: 2020-08-31
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flight 01Police in Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have established special teams to investigate and crack down on the price-gouging of flight tickets to China amid the COVID-19 pandemic, vowing to maintain the market's order and protect the interests of passengers, Chinese media reported on Friday.

The public has noticed an increased number of unethical ticket agencies and scalpers since March, when a growing number of overseas Chinese students and employees were eager to fly back to their home country as the pandemic situation outside China gradually turned serious.

A travel agency staffer said that he even heard of an economy-class ticket being sold at 180,000 yuan ($26,172) earlier in the pandemic, several times that of its original price.

One returnee, Primrose (pseudonym), flew back to China from the UK via Sri Lanka in June with a ticket she bought for 49,000 yuan from a ticket agent. Before her flight back, she failed to get a ticket from the airlines' official booking channels despite multiple attempts.

flight 04On social media, scalpers touted their overly expensive international flight tickets to major Chinese cities. A scalper with the Weibo ID "xiaolumga" has regularly been posting ticket information and prices since April, with a ticket for flight MU588 from New York to Shanghai being peddled at an extremely high price of 160,000 yuan.

China's civil aviation authority requires airlines to sell international tickets amid the pandemic directly to passengers with an open and transparent price. In late March, several domestic airlines, including China Eastern and Xiamen Air, announced they would strengthen the supervision of their cooperative ticket agencies.

It is nonetheless difficult for airlines to distinguish agents or scalpers from ordinary passengers among the large number of ticket buyers, said an China Eastern customer service staffer.

For passengers who have already purchased unreasonably-priced tickets from cooperative agencies, China Eastern can assist them by asking for a refund of the difference from the agencies.

A few passengers have received a refund after reporting the issue to airlines or the police. However, as many as 90 percent of ticket buyers are unaware that such methods exist to recover their money, it added.

一张回国机票炒到18万

8月27日,某商旅公司知情人向记者透露,疫情期间,一张回国经济舱机票最高被炒到了18万。

目前,上海和北京公安成立了专案组,以诈骗形式立案调查,有数名旅客成功找代理人退返差价,但90%的旅客并不知情,仍以为是市场溢价行为。

今年3月起,随着海外疫情的扩散,回国航班骤减,国际机票价格水涨船高,回国机票从2-4万的经济舱全价炒到10万元的实际成交价,背后经过了层层加价的多次转手,加价方却不一定是拥有正规牌照的机票代理,而是拥有客户资源的黄牛。

4月16日,中国民航局下发《关于进一步明确疫情期间国际机票销售有关问题的通知》,要求航空公司对国际机票全部采取直销模式,确保公开透明、明码标价,杜绝中间环节倒票、炒票行为。
黄牛卖票最高炒至18万

3月,海外疫情暴发,留学生们纷纷收到停课和停考通知,面对不断增长的确诊人数,焦虑、恐惧、担忧笼罩着留学生与相隔半球的家人,他们开始搜遍各种渠道,只为求一张回家的机票。

据某商旅公司知情人宋刚(化名)透露,回国航班锐减,北美、欧洲回国机票从平时的八九千经济舱价涨至两万至四万,仍然一票难求,数个机票代理商开始趁机炒高价机票。

对此,4月16日,中国民航局下发《关于进一步明确疫情期间国际机票销售有关问题的通知》,要求航空公司对国际机票全部采取直销模式,确保公开透明、明码标价,杜绝中间环节倒票、炒票行为。

但这并未阻止代理商高价炒票的操作,当时的回国航班分为三种,直飞航班、包机与中转航班,每类航班代理商加价不等,直飞航班经济舱价格炒高至十多万,宋刚说,“最高达到18万。”

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