Archive for the ‘Traval’ Category
What a wonderful feeling it is to save money. And finding cheap airline tickets for your next trip is certainly no exception. Saving a nice chunk of your hard earned cash gives you more to spend on sightseeing and souvenirs on your vacation. Finding good airfare deals is not too hard if want to work at it a little bit. If you do your homework and are willing to compromise, your on your way to finding cheap airfare.
Finding cheap tickets can suddenly make it possible to see places you may have thought you and your family would never see. Imagine all the great memories of exotic places that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.
A cheap vacation can still be a great vacation. Competition in all areas of the travel industry allows us to enjoy air travel because of lots of airfare deals, and nice accommodations because of discount hotel reservations. And, discounts on car reservations allow us to travel freely at our own pace and see those nice out of the way places that a lot of tourists never get to see.
Everything is going up in price these days, travel included. You need to line up the cheapest airfares obtainable because this expense may be the largest part of your travel budget.
When looking for cheap airline tickets, the day of the week and time of day of the flight is the main factor. The more open you are as to when you depart will always yield the low-cost air tickets.
One of the most effective methods to determine how the day of your trip impacts your power to acquire cheap tickets is to check out the internet site of your preferred airline. Enter your preferred departure days in the fields that ask for your departing and returning flights. Look at the different fares that are presented and then duplicate the procedure by altering only your departure date. Watch how that impacts the cost, then try different return days. You’ll see how some of the time a small alteration in the day of your departure could have a significant change in the price of the air fare.
In addition, make certain to notice how the time of day impacts the pricing. Early morning flights and red eye flights are frequently the most beneficial choices for grabbing the cheapest tickets. Nonetheless, some will take for granted that those flights are always the least expensive but this theory does not always hold water. Many travelers unnecessarily hinder themselves when they choose the red eye option. be sure to compare the pricing of all the flight schedules for the day you would like to fly.
Occasionally people are lured into using travel agencies or depend on the internet travel sites to line up cheap airline tickets. however, air travel experts state that there is just no way that any individual reference, whether an internet site, consolidator or agency can possess the current info on all discount airline tickets. therefore, as the consumer, it is your job to browse about and do some investigating to discover the best airfare deals in order to maximize your holiday budget.
The world wide web has really reinvented how business in carried out these days. With just a laptop, it is very easy to book a flight to any destination worldwide. Generally, this is convenient and tends to be cheap. below, useful tips that will help you get attractive online flight booking deals are outlined.
As they say, the early bird catches the worm. Booking early will not only get you your preferred seats, most likely you’ll pay less. In general, booking at least three weeks in advance is advisable and most likely you’ll be paying less compared to others buying the same ticket a few hours to departure.
Whenever possible, always avoid weekend travel since prices are normally high on such days. Traveling on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays is always expensive regardless of the transport mode. Typically, most people like to journey on the weekends since they are usually free on these days. As the demand for transport goes up so does the fare.
It is advisable to fly early in the morning or late at night since such flights are cheaper. In general, flying very late in the night or quite early will not only be cheap, usually it is less of a tussle. this is due to the fact that such flights are usually not in high demand. In essence, those early flights to Brisbane could save you a few dollars.
make consideration on the airport you decide to fly from. Generally, air fares differ depending on the airstrip you choose to travel from. Since price is of essence, it makes sense going to the airfield charging the cheapest fares but be sure to consider the cost of travelling to these other airport.
Whenever possible, avoid peak periods travel dates as they are expensive. Christmas or Easter travel most likely is expensive due to the demand factor. Generally, booking a few days to Christmas or Easter most likely is easier if not cheaper.
make use of fare comparison tools available online. Today, with a quick search online, you should be able to find a number of airline fare comparison tools. These tools can really be helpful if time is of essence. What you would be doing is quickly comparing a few airlines and then choosing the best rates. With these few tips, hopefully you should be able to get the best online flight booking deals.
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the list, released Tuesday, is a collection of references to pop culture (Justin Bieber and Dakota Fanning are their age), politics (a woman has run theU.S. State Department for much of their lives) and technology (their world has always existed in cyberspace).
To members of the Class of 2016, many of whom were born in 1994, “The Graduate” protagonist Benjamin Braddock could be their grandfather.
Other points on the list show not just the passage of time, but also the evolution of behavior. This year’s college freshman would likely think it strange for White House security to greet a group of gay elected officials by wearing rubber gloves, as happened during President bill Clinton’s first term. (A Clinton spokesman later apologized.)
Beloit College English and humanities professor Tom McBride and former college Public Affairs Director Ron Nief have compiled the list annually since 1998. as for larger trends among this year’s college freshmen, McBride said one is clear.
“They’ve come into their teenage years at a time when there are real doubts about America’s future, about whether America will continue to be a no. 1 power, about crushing debt, about recovery from the economic recession,” McBride said in an interview.
“This is a generation for whom D-E-B-T is going to be a four-letter word. They’re aware it was excess debt that caused the recession. They’ve seen older siblings graduate college and come back home without any prospects for a job. They’ve heard the word ‘underwater’ and they know it isn’t referring to a swimming pool.”
In the minds of incoming college freshmen:
•People don’t carry luggage, they roll it.
•they don’t have new encyclopedias.
•Kurt Cobain has always been dead.
•”The Real World” has always stopped getting polite and started getting real.
•Los Angeles has never had a pro football team.
•Robert De Niro isn’t the young Vito Corleone in “The Godfather II” or Jimmy Conway in “Goodfellas”; he’s Ben Stiller’s father-in-law in “Meet the Parents.”
•bill Clinton is a senior statesman, not a recent former president.
•they had Furbys.
•”Star Wars” was always just a film, not a defense strategy.
•There have always been blue M&M’s, but no tan ones.
(CNN) — when Southwest Airlines offered a limited-time promotion on Friday to celebrate reaching three million fans on Facebook, it seems they accidentally racked up duplicate charges on the credit cards of their loyal customers.
The LUZ2LIKE promo code was meant to offer customers 50% off when booking a round-trip with their “Wanna Get Away” fares during seven specific travel dates in the fall. The promo, which arrived by e-mail to customers, only lasted until midnight on Friday.
On Saturday, their Facebook page was flooded with differing stories describing the trials, unresolved issues and even a few happy endings for customers trying to shake off the excess charges. some lucky folks even posted that they sailed on through the process without a glitch.
When Southwest became aware of the problem, they offered a statement on Twitter, and a similar, expanded version on their Facebook page.
“Thank you for your excitement in taking advantage of the limited-time offer we shared today in celebration of reaching three million Fans on Facebook. Due to the overwhelming response, we experienced some site performance issues at various times throughout the day. We apologize to our Customers for any inconvenience and are proactively cancelling any duplicate itineraries that may have occurred.”
Bobi Fox, a customer who wanted to take advantage of the promo code, shared her experience with CNN. she purchased directly off of Southwest’s website.
“Customers who purchased tonight got no tickets, no confirmation, and many, like me, were charged on their credit cards repeatedly until credit card companies stopped the purchase process — some customers say they have been called by their credit card companies questioning fraud purchases,” she said. ” My credit card might be typical, my purchase was repeated 9 times (cost in excess of $2300 for a one pair of round trip tickets from STL to SLC). this is not unlike what everyone else is experiencing. Current wait time hold with Southwest customer service: more than two hours.”
Southwest interacted with commenters to let them know that customer service representatives were working around the clock to help reverse the transactions and cancel the excess flights.
But that didn’t soothe all of the complaints, and it seems that people are doing a lot of waiting – waiting for charges to be erased, flights to be cancelled and even ticket confirmations for the flights they want.
“I had $4000 limit on my card, I now have zero available because of 25 confirmations,” John Seymour wrote on the airline’s Facebook page. “I called when I was having errors, and the CS rep told me the website was slammed, and to keep hitting purchase and it would eventually go through. looks like all of them went through.
“I waited almost three hours last night to speak to someone. Finally got someone on the phone, and I had to remember which specific flights I had picked so that she could look up the flights and cancel the duplicates. she had to send the confirmation for the one flight I did want twice before it ever made it to me. I woke up this morning to 25 or so confirmations, and 25 or so cancellation emails. The charges remain pending on my credit card, so I can’t use that card to book my hotel room in Vegas for my trip. thanks for ruining my Friday night. wish I had never seen this deal. and I was so glad when you came to Atlanta….”
”36 confirmations,” Bella Ventresca shared. “over $7,000.00 in charges to my account, and 2 hours on the phone with SWA. I thought that this was just me, but apparently SOMEONE really dropped the ball here. PLUS it will take 7-10 days to process returns? Unacceptable.”
One of the common threads of discord? Waiting on the phone for hours to speak with a customer service rep, and then being cut off the phone call when a human voice finally answered. The comments even spread to other activity on the page, like when Southwest changed their Facebook cover photo from the promotion to a banner showing the airline.
“The Flash Sale made a nightmare out of my day,” June Wood wrote. “it just happened to be on a day that I needed to make arrangements but not one of the Flash dates. I was on hold the first time for 3 1/2 hours; then someone picked up the phone and click it was gone again. I tried numerous times throughout the day and evening I was put on hold again for 45 minutes. I was working on the booking from 6pm 8/3 until 2am 8/4. The reps seemed to be exhausted and not able to think clearly. Nice try but don’t repeat.”
Others were not amused when some Southwest fans began posting comments in support of the airline, such as “Best airline out there,” and “I love Southwest.”
“more disturbing than being charged $5000 dollars for a flight to Cleveland and waiting to see if I’m charged over limit fees as a result, is the number of people who are posting pointless “I love Southwest” comments or telling people not to be upset,” Steve Kafkas wrote on the Facebook page.”
“I’m a loyal Southwest customer, but at the moment I don’t know that I would risk buying another ticket from Southwest. How about a statement with a few more specifics than “we’re working on it” and that hours after the fact. for example, can people really cancel their flights online and get refunds? if so, why not post that here or on your website? if not, then tell people, because there are people suggesting it on this page.”
Because of being charged multiple times, sometimes upwards of 30 separate occasions, customers complained that the strain on their credit cards for the unexpected charges had a domino effect on their finances.
“I was sympathic [sic] to the situation before I actually spoke with a rep from Southwest who said, there is nothing she can do…southwest will refund the charges when they get to it and it will take 8 -10 business days before I get my money back and now I have to call customer relations to get the overlimit fees back, and I was charged interest on the $1400 on the duplicate charges and I have to pay for the long distance fees to call customer relations as they do not have a 1-800 number…SERIOUSLY?!?!? Are you freaking kidding me?” Suzanne Worrell wrote in a blazing post.
“You guys screwed up, took MY money through no fault of my own and now you are telling me I have to work to get it back and I am gonna be out more money??? for a company that prides itself on customer service you guys are falling on your face!! I spent over 5 hours last night on hold just to be disconnected, I can’t buy groceries or gas because you guys have taken all of my money and there is nothing you can do about it??? this is CRIMINAL!!! I get there was a glitch but compensate me, fix it, don’t tell me I have to call someone else on Monday to get it fixed! I am so disappointed and angry at Southwest!”
People also complained in their comments about not receiving the LUZ2LIKE email promotion to even know about the sale, and that because of the glitch, Southwest should extend the promotion. Others immediately responded by saying they were lucky they didn’t receive the promotion because of the charge errors that resulted for many of them.
Teri Landrum shared her experience on the Facebook page for how to try cancelling the flights online, but other users said that the site hasn’t been working for them.
“hopefully this will help someone — Go to southwest.com, log in to RR Account, click My Account link under “Hello Teri”, click View all next to Upcoming Trips, click Cancel Reservation, under Travel Funds, it should say “Refundable” and the $ amount.” Landrum wrote. “Select “Request a Refund”, then click Yes, Cancel. when you go to cancel the next one, make sure you select the next one in the list because the list doesn’t remove your cancelled ones and when you have 17 to cancel, it can get confusing.”
Perhaps the complaint that resonates the most is how Southwest’s customers felt punished, rather than rewarded, for being fans of the airline.
“I appreciate your generous sale but this is the last time I will ever fly southwest,” Christine Ylan Ho wrote. “maybe you’ve made this mistake yesterday but the lesson here is how you’ve dealt with it, which is poorly. good intentions but you should have been prepared to deal with the ramifications of charging thousands of dollars, especially to those who need access to that money to survive. Egregious really. IMPROVE YOUR RESPONSE TO THIS KIND OF CRISIS. I do not like your facebook page.”
™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. all rights reserved.
by Harry Glass
PUBLISHED: 04:19 EST, 31 July 2012 | UPDATED: 04:10 EST, 1 August 2012
Two of the UK’s largest online travel agents are being investigated along with the owner of Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza over unlawful agreements to limit hotel room discounts.
The separate agreements between Booking.com, Expedia and Intercontinental Hotels Group may have infringed competition rules, the Office of Fair Trading said.
It said the alleged infringements could limit price competition between online travel agents and make it more difficult for new online travel agents to gain market share by offering discounts to consumers.
Big deal: IHG operates nine hotel brands including Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, and Holiday Inn
The investigation was launched in September 2010 following a complaint submitted by a small online travel agent alleging that it was being prevented by various hotel chains from offering discounted sale prices for room-only hotel accommodation.
London room rates slashed
Many London hotels are actually slashing prices despite the expected demand from tourists at the Games.
Room rates were meant to be sky-high – but bookings in the capital have been ‘substantially down’ on last year, according to hotel provider JacTravel.
And ‘bookings for all other European cities are significantly up – as is London in September,’ JacTravel director Angela Skelly said.
Last week room rates were down to normal levels having been inflated by as much as 300 per cent two months ago. some four-star hotels which had been quoting rates of
I just saw on Twitter, via Airfarewatchdog that Virgin Atlantic is offering some significantly discounted flights from Philadelphia to London Heathrow direct on partner airline US Airways. I checked a bunch of dates on Kayak and saw fares starting as low as $456!
It looks like these fares start on 10/22, but prior to that they are still pretty cheap in the mid $500′s. It also looks like you must book through Orbitz.com or Cheaptickets.com as Virgin Atlantic is not recognizing this as a valid route.
There is no telling how long these cheap fares will last so I’d suggest not delaying. Orbitz will allow you to cancel with NO FEE until tomorrow 11pm EST the following day. I am not able to find the Cheaptickets cancellation policy, so at this point I’d suggest going with Orbitz.
Anyone able to take advantage of this sale?
One quick blog update not related to this deal: The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card offer has been enhanced, slightly. the minimum spend has decreased from $3,000 in 3 months to $2,000 in 3 months. I’ll dedicate a blog post to this tomorrow, but if you got this card within the past 90 days, I wouldn’t be too concerned – Chase does a great job with matching better offers so let’s hope they stick to it with this minimum spend decrease. For those that have been holding out due to the spend threshold, here is the application link.
MANILA, Philippines — the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) defended on Sunday its recent decision to remove the accreditation requirements for travel agencies offering passport services to the public..
The DFA denied the decision discriminates against travel agencies, saying it is part of a whole range of measures being undertaken to further improve the delivery of consular services.
"We would like to make it clear that the directive we issued in may as well as the latest guidelines allowing accredited travel agencies to transact with us only until the end of the year are not intended to drive travel agencies out of business," Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Administration Rafael E. Seguis said in a statement.
"In fact, the guidelines do not prevent travel agencies from assisting those who are willing and have the means to avail themselves of the services they offer. the guidelines are intended to allow ordinary passport applicants to enjoy the same special treatment travel agency clients enjoy but at no extra cost to them."
Seguis explained that travel agencies have long benefitted from special privileges that allowed them to accept, pre-process and, until the recent introduction of the electronic passport, even file applications on behalf of their clients.
These privileges, he said, include guaranteed same-day processing and dedicated express lanes for applicants who come to them for assistance.
While travel agency-assisted applicants shell out anywhere from P1,800 to P7,000 for these privileges, Seguis said the DFA only collects from them P1,200 for expedited processing — the same amount paid by ordinary passport applicants for the same expedited processing –and the P500 accreditation annual fee collected from each of the 551 accredited travel agencies.
"unfortunately, unlike travel agency clients who can breeze through the application process, ordinary applicants have to come to our offices as early as midnight and wait in line for hours before they could be served," the DFA official said.
"We strongly felt there was a need to correct this situation as it is inconsistent with the steps that we have been taking to improve the delivery of our consular services, such as the transfer of our offices to better facilities inside shopping malls, that we hope would finally eliminate the long lines that have been associated with the passport application process," he added.
In addition to the transfer of passport offices to shopping malls, Seguis said the other measures being undertaken by the DFA include: the acceptance of passport applications in these mall-based offices from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; releasing of passports half-days during Sundays; and the activation before the end of the year of a dedicated call center for applicants to schedule their appointments at their preferred location and schedule.
Angela Wittrock | MLive Media GroupChris Holman, chair of the Capital Region International Airport Authority board of directors, announced the return of Allegiant Airlines to airport Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012.
Allegiant Air is returning to Lansing’s CapitalRegion International Airport, the airline announced Tuesday.
“We’re thrilled to be back,” said Brian Davis, theairline’s spokesman.
Starting Nov. 1, Allegiant will offer twice-weekly non-stop servicefrom Lansing to Orlando.
One-way tickets start at $84.99, including taxes andfees, and are available online now.
Allegiant operated flights from the airport from 2003 to 2009before shifting its offerings to Grand Rapids due to issues with flight timerestrictions for its pilots.
Davis said the flight times that caused problems in the past were related to the direct flights to Las Vegas, which now leave from Grand Rapids instead.
The company is open to expanding its destinations fromLansing, as well as the number of weekly flights, he said.
“It’s really up to the customer,” he said. “We’ll start withOrlando, and let the community and the customers dictate the rest.”
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said the announcement showedthat Lansing is joining the likes of Indianapolis and Madison as the class ofthe Midwestern capital cities.
“We are increasingly becoming an internationaldestination,” he said. “This is one of the ways we will avail ourselves of theglobal economy.”
Bob Selig, executive director of the airport authority, said theairline received the standard package of incentives, including waiving landingfees for the first year and about $75,000 worth of marketing.
Bob Trezise, the CEO of the Lansing Economic AreaPartnership, said Allegiant’s return to Lansing was an important development inthe economic health of the region.
“Leisure travel matters to economic development,” hesaid.
Trezise noted that offerings like travel options,schools, and even soccer leagues are key to attracting companies to the region,because new companies often mean CEOs and others relocating to the region.
The airport and surrounding land, about 1,800 acres intotal, is located in DeWitt Twp.
Agreements executed between the township and Lansing cityofficials allow the city to provide services to the airport in exchange for acut of the taxes generated by the site.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. designated thesite as a Next Michigan Development zone, or “aerotropolis,” in Dec. 2011.
That allows a five-member authority to offer specialincentives to business to encourage development in the area surrounding theairport.
Teri Whealon was hoping to take her family to Walt Disney World over the Christmas holiday using Allegiant Air’s new introductory fares of $69.99 one-way from MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.
But when she went to purchase the tickets online, Whealon couldn’t find any tickets available for that price on the two departure dates immediately preceding Christmas. when she changed her dates and tried to buy four round-trip tickets for Dec. 13 and a return for Dec. 16, only two of the departure tickets and one of the return tickets were available at the introductory rate.
Whealon was told that customers had already bought up most of the tickets being sold at the introductory price.
“Apparently it’s extremely limited,” Whealon, of Swansea, said.
An Allegiant official boasted of the introductory rate at a press conference Tuesday announcing the return of passenger service to MidAmerica for the first time since early 2009. Starting Nov. 7, Allegiant will begin offering nonstop, round-trip flights, twice weekly, between the Mascoutah airport and Orlando Sanford International Airport, which is located near Orlando, Fla.
In materials provided to the media, the company stated the introductory price did not include baggage fees and may not be available for all flights. also, the fare was only for flights purchased by Aug. 28 for travel by Jan. 13.
“This fly by Jan. 13 doesn’t mean a thing,” Whealon said.
Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler couldn’t say how many seats were offered at the introductory rate, but the low fare applied to at least 10 percent of the total number of tickets for sale during the introductory period, she said.
“I know it is a minor sticking point — that’s why we say as low as $69.99,” Wheeler said.
The discount airline watches its ticket prices closely and changes them frequently based on supply and demand, according to Wheeler.
“It is going to be based on seasonality and demand,” Wheeler said.
Allegiant would not disclose how many tickets have been sold for its MidAmerica flights.
On Thursday afternoon, Allegiant’s website showed fares at the introductory rate or lower were being offered on 43 percent of the MidAmerica flights through Jan. 13. Prices were predictably highest between Dec. 20 and Jan. 3, when all one-way tickets cost $168 or $169.
During the entire introductory phase, the average ticket cost $99 one-way from MidAmerica and $103 for return flights.
Wheeler noted that almost all the flights in January, including those after Jan. 13, were $69 or lower.
As long as the company gives adequate notice of limitations and offers a reasonable number of seats at the introductory fare, which it appears Allegiant did in both cases, then the promotion would fall within the U.S. Department of Transportation’s guidelines, agency spokesman bill Mosley said.
“It looks like they were within the bounds,” Mosley said.
In February, the department fined Allegiant $100,000, in part, for violating the federal price-advertising rules. the department found that Allegiant failed to adequately mention fees when advertising “free” flights to Las Vegas, Nev., and Tampa, Fla., on its website. Allegiant agreed to the fine in order to avoid litigation, but did not admit guilt.
Allegiant has agreed to provide a minimum of 80 flights at MidAmerica. In return St. Clair County must provide $25,000 to cover the airline’s marketing expenses. the new airline service is expected to create seven to 10 part-time jobs and generate $53,000 in revenue for the airport.
Contact reporter Kevin Bersett at email@example.com or 239-2535. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/KevinBersett
What’s your biggest airline problem?
That’s a question I ask almost every day, and it’s coincidentally one that a new Department of Transportation panel is trying to answer.
The Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection, created by the latest Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill and established in may, is charged with reviewing current aviation consumer protection programs and recommending improvements, if needed. it has held one public meeting so far, with another scheduled for Tuesday, so it still has a long way to go before determining where passengers hurt the most. (See https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/07/23/2012-17861/advisory-committee-for-aviation-consumer-protection.)
Disclosure: I have a horse in this race. I co-founded the Consumer Travel Alliance and serve as its volunteer ombudsman. The group’s president, Charlie Leocha, is the consumer representative on the committee. Leocha maintains that the single biggest fixable problem is price transparency, or knowing how much your ticket will cost.
During presentations to the committee, other advocates for air travelers have made compelling cases for different causes, including making it easier to sue airlines and adopting tougher regulations concerning safety and tarmac delays. if I’d made my own pitch, I’d have argued that air travelers are most frustrated by the impression that airlines seem to be able to make up their own rules with little oversight.
So who’s right?
To find out, I asked consumer advocates and service experts to name their top airline problem. if anyone knows where air travelers are hurting, they should.
Edward Hasbrouck, a San Francisco-based consumer advocate and author of “The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World,” says that air travelers want to know what they’re buying. Airlines could do a far better job of disclosing so-called code-share agreements and revealing what’s included in the price of a ticket as well as the ticket terms. Air carriers aren’t currently required to reveal any of those details on your ticket. “I think those are the big issues,” he says.
Mitch Lipka, who writes a consumer advocacy column for The Boston Globe, says that passengers are frustrated with new airline fees and charges that give the false impression that they’re spending less for their flights when they’re actually spending more.
Most recently, news that some airlines are reserving more aisle and window seats for passengers willing to pay a premium prompted angry complaints that families with small children wouldn’t be able to sit together without paying extra. “That seems to have irked a lot of people,” Lipka says.
Richard Laermer, a marketing expert and commentator for the public radio show “Marketplace,” says that air travelers are weary of being hammered by fees. “Fees for legroom, fees for seat reservations, fees for being first on board,” he says. “Worse, instead of passengers knowing what the price of a ticket covers, they’re growing more confused as airlines come up with new surcharges.” Laermer wants to see the end of “us vs. them.”
So, that’s three votes for price transparency.
Look a little closer and you’ll understand why. these new fees and surcharges affect almost every passenger’s wallet in a direct, measurable way. A decade ago, the price of an airline ticket included checking two bags, confirming a seat, paying with a credit card. if you wanted to check an overweight bag or change your ticket, you paid a little more. Today, some tickets cover none of those things; they are, to use a term popular with the airlines, “unbundled.”
It’s not the unbundling itself that’s problematic, but the way it has been executed. With only one or two exceptions, airlines have quietly removed integral components of the ticket from the base price and then buried the disclosure on their website. that has allowed them to continue quoting the low fares that passengers want. it has also let them profit from the public’s assumption that those fares continue to be more or less inclusive, which they aren’t.
The money that airlines make from these extra fees is referred to as “ancillary” revenue, and the airline industry is awash in it today. In two years, worldwide ancillary airline revenue jumped 66 percent, to $22.6 billion in 2011, according to a recent survey by IdeaWorks, an airline consulting company that specializes in ancillary revenue. The industry leader, United Airlines, collected $5.2 billion in ancillary fees last year. But United is a big airline. The real ancillary revenue leaders are the so-called “low-fare” carriers, which pile on the extras. Spirit Airlines, for example, reaps about 33 percent of its revenue from fees, making it the world’s most aggressive air carrier when it comes to extras, IdeaWorks says.
Air travelers have plenty of problems. But this one — the issue of ticket price — keeps bubbling up in discussions.
The fix seems pretty easy: Require airlines to release all their data regarding fares and optional extras and to publish those fees everywhere they sell their tickets. At the moment, they’re not required to do so; current regulations say only that their fares must include mandatory fees and taxes. Obviously, it’s not enough. The optional fees are the ones that surprise consumers and hurt their wallets.
The advisory committee should recommend that the Transportation Department adopt a rule requiring airlines to put every component of their fares on the table, for every passenger to see, regardless of how and where they’re buying a ticket. that would quickly close a shameful chapter in the airline industry’s history, in which it deceived passengers into paying more for their tickets and earned billions based on its subterfuge.
No government should allow a business to lie to its customers.
Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine and the co-founder of the Consumer Travel Alliance. his column runs twice a week at seattletimes.com/travel. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.