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The airline war has reached a new low, with AirAsia offering return flights to London for $217 from the Gold Coast or $240 from Melbourne.

If the booking confusion doesn’t deter your search for the ultimate fare (all legs need to be booked separately and through Kuala Lumpur), you may be rewarded with an unprecedented discount flight.

AirAsia has been a dominant player in the ultra-cheap flight sector, recently making headlines for offering free flights to Bangkok from Asian ports, to help restore tourism after the recent political unrest. Earlier last month, it excited travel enthusiasts with $378 Australia-London flights.

The current discount-basket fare is part of a sale which started at 2am this morning and will run for 48 hours, for travel only between October 11 and November 14, 2010.

Although the base flights are some of the cheapest in Australian history, don’t expect to indulge in the normally free benefits of international travel – the low-cost airline will charge you for meals, beverages, in-flight entertainment and extra baggage.

AirAsia recently reported a net profit after tax of $A81.23 million for the first quarter of the year. The airline sources 16 per cent of its revenue from their extra charges, referred to as the “unbundling of services”.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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pensioners

Bet and Bob Poole, Coogee

Healthcare and getting by are key concerns for Bet and Bob Poole, who are war veteran pensioners courtesy of Bob’s service as a merchant marine in World War II.

The retired, married couple receives $957.80 a fortnight in pension payments from the Federal Government.

“We’ve been married for 62 years – you don’t get that for murder – and I’ve felt like murdering him a few times,” Bet quips.

“If we have a banana, we’ve got to share it, because we can’t afford two.

“Because you get about $75 extra each if you’re a single pensioner, we know a few of them who are living together and saying they’re separated, which is all well and good as long as you don’t get caught.”

Bet has a heart condition that needs four prescriptions costing $21.20 per month to treat. Bob relies on two prescriptions for another ailment, which cost him $10.60. The couple’s income includes a combined monthly rebate of $10 for prescriptions.
Bet and Bob say any decrease in their combined $11.20 prescription gap would be most welcome.

The couple has private health insurance, which they say they will have to surrender if Treasurer Wayne Swan cuts the 30 per cent private health insurance subsidy.

“If the Government wipes that 30 per cent, I won’t be able to be in it,” Bet says.

“Sooner or later, I am going to have to have my main (heart) valve replaced, and even if I have got private insurance that will cost thousands and thousands to replace.”

Bet says a push by the Pensioners’ League for an extra $30 per week income for single pensioners would not help her or Bob.

“We’re not going to get anything because we’re married, so if I divorce him, I’ll get $30,” she says.

Regardless, she resents that a pay rise for pensioners is even in question when federal politicians have just received one.

“They’re going to give themselves $90 per week and they’re trying to lower that $30 right down to nothing, and that stinks,” Bet says.

Electricity, gas and water prices are going through the roof.

“If we don’t get something in the budget, it means a lot of the pensioners are not going to eat.”

Bob says there should be greater health support for his former comrades injured in war.
www.watoday.com.au

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