A Dutch rail company has found a novel way to make money from travellers worried about missing flights while simultaneously lowering overall consumer expectations. Rail operator NS has teamed up with Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to trial the Schiphol Warranty Service.

This scheme guarantees travellers who pay an extra $7.90 that they will arrive at the airport on time for their flight (interestingly, the guarantee costs more than a basic second-class one-way ticket, which is about $6.30).

Pardon us for naively thinking we'd already paid for the privilege of arriving on time when we bought our ticket. It's like hoping into a taxi, telling them where you want to go and having the driver accept your business.

"And for an extra 10 bucks, I'll actually get you there, guvnor."

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NS are canny enough to make money up front on this scheme, while at the same time removing the assumption among regular customers that their basic service will do what it says on the packet.

"Sorry you're late, sir. Perhaps you should have purchased the Warranty Service."

I've never had a problem with rail delays at Schiphol - nor with any continental rail service for that matter.