Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vision Airlines Offers $2 Round-Trip Flights to the Bahamas, Stings Attached

BahamasWhen you see a headline that says "$2 Flight to the Bahamas", a few things probably cross your mind: Can this be safe? and What strings are attached? Well if you are thinking an offer like this is too good to be true, then you are most likely right. The offer comes from a Georgia-based low-fare airline that is launching nonstop service to Freeport from five different U.S. cities, with a few strings attached.

Vision Airlines, an air carrier that started off offering Grand Canyon charter flights back in 1994, just started twice-weekly flights to Grand Bahama Island earlier this week from Baltimore/Washington, Louisville, Raleigh/Durham and Richmond with flights five days a week from Ft. Lauderdale. The $2 promotion, which is good through March 4 if purchased by December 11, requires the customer to put in for a three-night minimum stay for at least two people at one of nine Grand Bahama resorts. However, that price does not reflect the $120 tax (per person) round-trip. So in essence you are looking at about $934.45 per couple minimum.

Regular one-way fares to Freeport will cost anywhere from $39 to $189 with an average of $99, plus a $60 tax each way. C.A. Smith, the Bahamian ambassador to the United States, was quoted saying that he hopes the Vision Airlines service will rekindle interest in Freeport, which just so happens to be the main city on Grand Bahama Island as well as the second-largest in the country. According to Smith, "The plan basically allows us to redevelop the tourism sector of the economy, and in order to do that you have to be able to have inexpensive airline seats. You have to make it convenient for people to travel."

Smith also added that Freeport was devastated by a hurricane in 2004 and 2005 and has since been eclipsed by Nassau in the recent years, especially after the opening of the Atlantis mega-resort helped initiate a hotel building influx on New Providence Island. New Providence, where Nassau is located, is also linked to New Paradise Island (the site of the Atlantis) by a causeway.

Another red flag is that it has been reported that Vision Airlines owes nearly $260,000 in unpaid passenger facility charges to the Northwest Florida Regional Airport, the location where the airliner began service in December of 2010. In addition to that, the company is also said to owe passenger facility charges and other fees to the Little Rock National Airport in Arkansas. Just a few things to keep in mind if you actually decide to cash in on this "deal".

Source: USA Today - The Bahamas for a buck? Vision Airlines offers $2 round-trip flights is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

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