March 11, 2002
I was looking over some flyers for trips to various places at work one recent day and someting caught my eye. It was a cruise to the Aegean sea. The cost for an inside cabin was $2299 per person which included round-trip airfare and the cruise itself. The length of the trip was 12 days.

The above is not what caught my attention. What caught my attention was the following: $850 single supplement.

For those whose math isn't that good, that supplement is 36.97% of total price! In other words, if you are single and go by yourself, you will pay an additional 37%.

To be blunt, this is usurious. There is absolutely no justification for having someone pay an additional 37% for anything just because they are single. None.

I personally encountered a similar situation when I flew to Las Vegas last year. I basically ended up paying for the price of two people even though I was the only one going on vacation. While I wasn't happy it would be the last vacation I took for a while so I swallowed hard and enjoyed myself.

I keep hearing stories about those in the travel industry complaining how airlines and hotels are reducing the amount of commissions they offer to agents and are instead directly soliciting customers. With prices like the above, it's no wonder.

Now, before some of you get on your horse and say "Too bad. If you want to be by yourself, you have to pay the price.", let me say that I am not adverse to paying a little bit extra (though why one should pay any extra is still a mystery). For instance, if the cost of a package is $350 per person, I could see an additional $50 being tacked on for a single person. I might even be inclined to accept a $100 additional amount if the package was to a high tourist location or during the regular travel season (though that would be a 28.5% additional charge).

But 37%? Come on! That is just plain robbery.

What I would like to know is why there is even an additional charge for a single person? That person is still occupying a room. In fact, if anything, there should be a discount for a single person travelling. Instead of having to clean up after two people, the maid service would only be cleaning up after one. Instead of having to have two seats avaialable, the airline would only need to have one.

If anyone who works for or knows someone who works for the travel industry can explain to me why a single person must pay extra to travel compared to a couple, and that explanation is reasonable, I will gladly accept the added burden.

I suspect, however, that the real reason is simply so the agents can ring a few extra dollars out of our pockets. Which is fine since I no longer go through travel agents. I can just as easily make my own arrangements and save myself some money. Money which won't go to line the pockets of someone who doesn't deserve it.