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Highway Robbery

Next time you want to fly your family from the United States to Morocco, you may have to sell your car to afford the tickets. The prices for a round trip ticket from anywhere in the USA to Casablanca is a highway robbery. It is outrages and insulting that the price of a  roundtrip from New York to Casablanca is 40 percent more than a similar ticket to Istanbul, Turkey (per Expedia search engine using same dates with one stop). While the price of oil moved considerably lower and the US Dollar stayed pretty much stable, the Royal Air Maroc (RAM) tickets from the US to Morocco went higher during the low season? While I do not claim to be an expert on air travel, common sense points to my earlier statement as an oxymoron. So how come RAM keeps insulting the Moroccans living in the USA by artificially keeping the prices of its tickets so high all year long, contrary to the air industry usual cycles? The simple answers are monopoly and ambivalence.

Let's remember, Moroccan tax payers own 95.95% of the RAM and Air France 3%. To add insult to injury the other airline that has relatively comparable flights from the USA to Morocco is no other than Air France. In fact, Air France is no stranger to price fixing.  The dramatic changes to the structure of tickets prices of the Casablanca-Paris flights once Open Sky agreement took affect is a clear indication of how RAM  keeps the prices high on the USA-Casablanca segments. Actually, when the RAM and Air France had an almost control of the Casa-Paris flights the prices were high and rigid, but once more airlines forced themselves into the lucrative flights from Morocco to France the prices started to go south with more deals for travelers.

Unfortunately for the Moroccans of the USA, they can not drive or swim to the old country. Since flying is the only way, RAM and Air France hold them and their families' hostages to their arbitrary, puzzling  and consumer unfriendly pricing dictate.

Since most Moroccan tax payers can not afford a flight to New York, the Moroccan immigrants are the victims of this injustice. It is time for the Moroccan community to stand up and demand to know why the prices are so high and what is the logic behind the rigidity of the pricing grid. MRE (Moroccans residing overseas) are not cash cows that should be taken advantage of by any unscrupulous government agency. The RAM is a government entity and the Moroccan public has the right to know if it serves the interests of all Moroccans. Asking questions can not be confused with asking for a subsidy or preferential pricing, but rather as protecting the interests of all parties involved including a profitable RAM and a respected consumer.

In an ideal world, the Moroccan ministry of Transportation should look into the pricing of the RAM,. This action will never be taken as it is neither the culture nor a priority. However, the consumers always have options, albeit limited in this case. So next time you make a decision to book a flight from any where in the world to Morocco keep this in mind.  For the US based travelers, the Federal Air Carrier Access Act  protects the American consumer against  unfair and deceptive trade practices by  foreign air transportation companies.

 

 

Author: Hassan Masiky is a native of Kenitra, Morocco. He graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a degree in political science in 1991. Upon graduation, Hassan joined the Washington DC based non government organization the Parliamentary Human Rights Foundation (PHRF) where he worked as a consultant for USAID democracy projects in Mexico, Haiti, Republic of Georgia and the European Parliament. After leaving PHRF, Hassan dedicated his time advising Amnesty International USA on African and Middle Eastern affairs and representing the organization in press conferences. Mr. Masiky was a host on several television shows discussing human rights and democracy. He is currently working for a Federal Agency in the Washington area.  hmasiky@gmail.com

Comments (30)  

 
Guest
0 #1 A ben khlafaGuest 2009-02-02 12:00
In deed the prices are outrageous. If you look at the plan designed to attract 10 million tourists by 2010, you will find that the private sector from one side is doing everything to achieve that number, on the other side, the major handicap for such plan is the prices of RAM . The majority of Moroccans in the US can no longer afford to take their family to Morocco, which ultimately lead to create a wider cape of identity between kids born in the US for Moroccan parents and morocco.
Not only outrageous, it is ridiculous
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Hmimarmad
0 #2 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyHmimarmad 2009-02-02 13:21
I stopped blaming la RAM because when someone like me keeps soliciting their less than mediocre service for the highest price around, why should they be blamed?
The RAM is in the business of making money not based on their outstanding services and fair prices but on finding people like you and me who are willing to pay their asking price.
When we stop acquiring their boarding pass, there is no doubt in my mind that things will change.
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Glawi
0 #3 Why Do We Have to Beg RAM?Glawi 2009-02-03 13:16
While I understand the concern of Mr. Masiky and the Moroccan-Americ an Community, I see that everyone overlooks the powerful tool that we all have. It's our dollars.
We work so hard for our money and we are entitled to be picky about RAM's service and price. Everyone of us can protest against this company by flying other airlines, period. Take your business elsewhere.Teach them a lesson. There are so many airlines that we can fly to get to Morocco. They are not too convenient, but we have to send a message to RAM that we have other options and higher expectations than their mediocre and sketchy business practices.
I known dozens of Moroccans who have boycotted the company, including myself, and I don't know why you couldn't or shouldn't.
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ali farouk
0 #4 self employedali farouk 2009-02-03 16:21
let s stop talking and start acting . we all know that RAM . have gone out of its way to make us , the moroccans here in usa miserable .RAM has commited so many crimes against its american moroccans passengers , and yet , they haven t claim that rsposibllity ( the crash in january of 2008) the plane made an emergency landing in a malitary aereport . and the staff let the moroccans . with no assistance at all , they basiclt told us . that . we don t need an explination nor a refund . so instead , they went and increased their airfares , so . my last advise to u . is stop flying with RAM . they are a bunch of thieves . find another way to get home . that is how our voice will be heurd
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A. Benkirane
0 #5 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyA. Benkirane 2009-02-04 04:54
I think this article is short sighted and doesn't take into account fundamentals of supply and demand.
If a European airline can undercut RAM by offering cheaper tickets or more flights from the US either through Europe or direct to Casa , they would have by now. There is an open skies agreement in place so regulation is not a valid complaint.

RAM sets its prices based on supply and demand. If you can find a cheaper and easier way to get there, go do it. Or fly to Istanbul and quit your complaining.
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Driss
0 #6 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyDriss 2009-02-04 06:32
Does anybody have an email address or similar contacts to drop a complaint. I know most Moroccan consumer complaints emails wind up in some type of electronic trash bin, but we can try. I go to Morocco evey 2 to 3 years and it is always a bad start, RAM, Taxi, Bank, etc...
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jaid
0 #7 Director of food and beveragejaid 2009-02-04 10:42
As Moroccan or American or just someone living abroad we have to raise the Flag one more time and stop blaming RAM for now.
Let’s spread the word to everyone all over the USA and the world not to fly with them use Iberia, British airways or even Deutch
We might save few dollars and fly for longer hours but a least we could make our point.
Spread the Word “don’t Fly RAM this Year\"
As a father of 2 a family of 4 did cost us a fortune to fly from Miami to Casablanca almost all the yearly saving, it is a shame
here we are all here for a raison better life and building future for our country and families yet Royal Air Morocco is getting us broke year after year.
And one more things the know the only time we could go to Morocco is during summer, kids are off from school, guess what?
That is when RAM takes advantage. Try to pay
$6400. For for tickets it is robbery
Thank you for reading and please spread the Word
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lehbib
0 #8 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway Robberylehbib 2009-02-04 14:18
Very simple to understand.....

R.A.M = Rien A Manger
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simo
0 #9 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway Robberysimo 2009-02-04 17:05
well that is all correct we do have to stand up and fight the big killer RAM,other ways we have to stop flying with,em and try other airlines,beside this the moroccan airlines is a huge canystorm they offer only to take ur money instead of given a good service hello people its time to wake up of ur long sleep and do some thing .we need to move forward ,i believe we do have a good brains to fight this crime, stop flying with royal air morocco stop it now now now
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Hmimarmad
0 #10 Non Moroccan passenger reviewsHmimarmad 2009-02-05 04:05
Check out these passenger reviews almost everyone had a bad experience. At least la RAM does not discriminate against the locals, everyone gets a piece of a horrible and nasty RAM experience.

http://www.airlinequality.com/Forum/maroc.htm#
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bakhaldoun
0 #11 Highway Robbery by RAMbakhaldoun 2009-02-05 12:34
Mr Benkirane,

I don't know who you're trying to mislead here. If you factor in the fundamentals of supply and demand, the prices in fact should drop not rise, especially during the high season when almost all the flights to Morocco are full. Maybe if RAM stops offering free seats to lots of 'VIPs' and 'who-knows-who' and starts treating all Moroccans equally, maybe the real figures of supply and demand would make the airfares more fair to the general public. I think RAM makes us pay for those 'freebies' and Mr Benkirane has to be one of them, because he doesn't seem to understand what my follow Moroccans living in the US go through to pay for their 4 to 6 member families. Last summer I had to leave my wife and kids behind because the airfares were ridiculously too high.
RAM is able to keep its prices as high as they are and get away with it for the simple reason that they've established a monopoly, they have no competition whatsoever. When you challenged Mr Masiky, the author of the article, and the Moroccan readers and travelers by writing: "If you can find a cheaper and easier way to get there, go do it." you knew exactly what you were talking about, nobody can beat a well established monopoly for sure. But what you didn't know -Mr ignorant- is that Moroccans don't give up that easily when they set their minds on something, otherwise, we would still be under the French occupation. We'll keep complaining and fighting until things change for the better.
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Hassan Masiky
0 #12 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyHassan Masiky 2009-02-05 14:18
The fundamentals of supply and demand apply when you have a fair competition. RAM is in cahoots with Air France-KLM and has a code share with Iberia; the two possible competitors. If we were in the US, where the fundamentals of supply and demand do apply, the FTC and Department of Justice would have opened an investigation for price fixing and a possible case of anti-trust.

RAM is a public company, owned by Moroccans in theory, and therefore has social responsibilitie s toward Moroccan citizens and especially MRE who support national and locals economies. It is a crime to pay $6K to fly with your family to your homeland to visit loved ones. It is a short sighted pricing policy that would eventually back fire.
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Hassan Benjelloun
0 #13 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyHassan Benjelloun 2009-02-05 16:04
What can I say, everybody knows the poor service of RAM and their highest price (especially from here ths US), I agree we should stop buying tickets from RAM and look for other companies, I'm like Mr. Jaid father of 2 so we are a family of 4, and we're planning to go to Morocco this summer (as it's the only time the kids can go) and guess what for a round trip ticket Tampa/New York/Casablanca RAM asked for over $6600.. So I checked other companies and I found a much better deal with Iberia (of course through Madrid) but it's always 1 stop as Iberia asked fro $4400 including taxes for Miami/Madrid/Ca sablanca, so guess what, I'm going with Iberia, and I can insure you guys that I will never fly RAM again, so if each one of us stop flying with RAM, I'm pretty sure they can look again in their policy when their sales drop..
Please fellow moroccans, spread the word: DON'T FLY WITH RAM, try IBERIA, KLM, BA LUFTHANSA etc...
God Bless Morocco
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chelhman
0 #14 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway Robberychelhman 2009-02-05 17:25
You guys have it really bad across the pond. We've gotten used to travel back and forth from Europe for sometimes as low as 150 US$, and that's a round trip ! But this isn't a favor done to us, Morocco has bent over backwards to attract European tourists and it lead to the open skies agreement.
Until they decide to attract north-American tourists, RAM will keep gouging you.
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Hassan
0 #15 For your safety do not board RAM flightsHassan 2009-02-06 03:22
the title says it all.....
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reda
0 #16 I AM DOING SOMETHING ABOUT ITreda 2009-02-06 05:25
dear friends...i have travelled between the u.s and morocco for 18years...how many times did i use r.a.m? *twice ...how many trips have i taken there ?...*around 45 trips...why?..* i will not fly and support an airline that is a mirror of the corrupt and "7eggara" moroccan government...
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Khalid Sidi-Baba
0 #17 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyKhalid Sidi-Baba 2009-02-07 07:48
Please check Iberia now. From Los Angeles to Marrakech via Madrid you pay $701.00 all included, Check out RAM, From JFK to Marrakech $950. Are you out your FN minde to fly with these people? NO, NO, NO. They can go to hell.
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SKITIOUI
0 #18 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberySKITIOUI 2009-02-08 16:26
GOOD NEWS R.A.M JUST CHANGED THE NAME TITLE BUT NOT THE FARES....

R.A.M = Rien Aux Marocains !!!
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reda
0 #19 mr benkiranereda 2009-02-09 12:12
mr benkirane i am not surprised you have a positive outlook on r.a.m and i am sure you think the same about all moroccan institutions..j udging from your name(forgive me for that) you fellow fassa are running the show again in this country and everyone knows the result.. incompetent,cor rupt and arrogant individuals running the government and only know how to stuff their fat bellies from the poor people s tax revenue,,,just when we started to see a sliver of hope and things started moving in the right direction the fassi family descended on us and started taking us back to the middle ages...i pledge not to support them in any way no sending money,no investing minimum vacationing in morocco and when i go there to see my family stay maximum at home ..
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hassan bouazzaoui
0 #20 r.a.mhassan bouazzaoui 2009-02-09 22:25
i couldn't agree with you more highway , from london uk ryanair started twice week direct service to fez early in 2007 after so call open sky .prices any thing from £70.00 to £150.00 rtn depending on high or low season to fly to morocco in middle of the summer for £150.00 rtn we thought Michael O'Leary & ryanair were gos send, once ram found out they were losing money on london run it had to stop . know we are forced to fly to barcelona then fez & its still half of the price of ram
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Moroccan’s living in Senegal
0 #21 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyMoroccan’s living in Senegal 2009-02-11 17:15
An other of RAM’s victims: Moroccan’s living in Senegal. It seems like when ever RAM arrives, disaster strikes and Moroccans pay the price of this airline indifference and apathy. Please read:

http://www.yabiladi.com/article-societe-3017.html

Face à la cherté du billet d'avion, les Marocains installés au Sénégal ont trouvé le "modus operandi" pour aller passer leurs vacances dans leur pays : La route transsaharienne Dakar-Tanger.
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Mr Snoussi
0 #22 RAM PricesMr Snoussi 2009-02-12 05:43
The general sentiment here is correct. La RAM has gone out of its way to make the summer vacation that so many US based Moroccans look forward to all year a stressful event that leaves people feeling that they need a real vacation to recover from the vacation they just had back home. The prices are outrages and for the lone person on this forum who posted in support of their practices, You need to get real. I can guarantee that you have never paid the full price of a ticket to Morocco whether for yourself or your family. Either that or your annual income is so beyond that of the average Moroccan in the US that a $7K vacation is chum change for you. Whatever the case may be, you should show some sensitivity to the issue being raised by so many people and not pretend to be oblivious or dismiss their point. Try to get out of the bubble you live in and venture out to areas where Moroccans live. You can pick any Moroccan at random and most likely that person have had a bad RAM experience to tell you if you have a minute to listen. Can all these people be wrong and you and La RAM be right? I doubt it.
As for me, the last time I flew with La RAM was in 2000. I made a decision back then to never again until I see some action by the company that favors the US based consumer.
Also, let's not forget that part of the problem is that some of the north African and Sub Saharan countries do not fly to or from the US. Most of those travelers opt for la RAM and then connect in Casablanca. So the demand is high for La RAM which gives the company some leverage over us. But we can't let that discourage us. It just means that we will have to include other groups in our campaign to force La RAM to bring their prices down to affordable levels.
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Walid
0 #23 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyWalid 2009-02-16 07:16
I think Royal Air Maroc should get privitised by someone that is not in the goverment. Also the author is from my city (kenitra)
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Realm
0 #24 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyRealm 2009-02-17 01:02
well , price was good years ago until khalrass start comming like flies now it's getting crowded giving a chance to RAM to rise there prices point.
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Hayat
0 #25 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyHayat 2009-02-17 14:47
I wish they could lower there prices I could not afford to go to Morocco with my kids for 10 years. Even though I came with the lottery.
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RAM or No RAM..rest chez toi
0 #26 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyRAM or No RAM..rest chez toi 2009-02-17 16:31
Why go to Morcco in the first place..6000$+ the cost of buying gifts and the money you give left and right to evryone may amount to 10.000$
with that amount you can take your kids to a nice Family getaway vacation in the Carebeans or on a Cruse ship.Your kids will rmember u by it. or better yet, save your money for their college! or do you think they are going to stay kids forever. Maybe you want them to have the same Hard life that you and I started with here in the US. Unlike Europe, Colleges are not free here in the US and as you know all too well, there is'nt a social system in America. Plan for your childrens future, instead of a 15 or 20 days of feeling good about yourself and coming back home broke. Your Home is Here, whether you like it or mot. the longer you stay in the U.S the dream of bying a house, going back to Morocco and starting a business is getting further and further. and with your repetitive trips to Morocco, you can kiss your children's dream good bye as well. I know it is hardm trust me I have done the same when my parents were still alive, Now that they have passed away, and I hate to say it my quality of living has uincreased. If you are going to Morocco to see your father and Mother, Allah Yahssan Alawan. but if you are going because your wife said so or you have missed the smell of the sute and corupts cops, I say wake up man..
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Guest
0 #27 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyGuest 2009-02-18 13:32
it like you are not khal arrass stop you discrimination, you are just showing your ignorance .
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Walid
0 #28 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyWalid 2009-02-20 13:07
I totally disagree with that, I go to Morocco because there I feel that I in MY country, not someone elses and I think you should let your kids decide weather or not they should go. Also, your child is never gunna stay a kid forever or neither will his grandparents stay alive or wait for them to achieve there dreams.
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Hakim
0 #29 RAMHakim 2009-03-02 15:49
RAM has no clue what custome service means, the flight attendants treat you like shit but we pay their salries with our hard earned money. The fare is just the start, when you get to the Airport in Casablanca it takes the airline 2 freaking hours to get your bags, oh and if your bags didn't make it on that flight, come back the next day even if you live in Dakhla because La RAM doesn't deliver bags or send them to you.
my fellow Moroccans, sometimes I just don't understand.
RAM can kiss my ass, I rather fly through a European city and spend money on the hotel than give them the satisfaction of high fares.
P.S if Wafin.com had a sack, it would refuse RAM publicity on the site

wa salam
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Guest
0 #30 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Highway RobberyGuest 2009-04-01 23:55
hello fellow moroccan
very intersting subject.i have left morocco
in 1978.and i flew ram only once 1980.then i have never ever come so close to them since then .always other airlines ,even if other airlines were dearer,iflew with them.
so things has not changed,for ram.i do not consider them as airline.simple as that.
you live in a free country ,freedom of choice ,freedom of this ,freedom of that.so just shop around and fly with others.mm
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