Tag Archives: Airline ticket

New airline rules make comparison shopping easier

Trying to figure out the real price of an airfare can be a frustrating process, but it’s about to get easier. This week, changes are taking places that will  require airlines be more upfront about the true cost of that ticket plus consumers will have 24 hours to make up their mind about a ticket. They are much needed changes that should make airline ticket shopping less of a game and a whole lot easier to truly comparison shop.

Here’s why disclosure is needed – a recent sale by one site said you could save $5 instantly. It listed the price as $248, but note the wording of the fine print. It says “total including fees excluding taxes.” Interesting. Why would the site include fees but exclude taxes other than to keep the price down?

I clicked through to see what the deal was all about as $5 is $5 in this economy. I’ll buy from a different site even to save that minimal amount. $248 was about the price I saw quoted on other sites. However, when I clicked through to the next page, I realized there really wasn’t a savings of $5. The price of the ticket was more than the other sites. Here’s what I saw on the next page.

The base price of $248 had an extra $66.20 attached to it for taxes and fees. I thought the fees were already included? Bottom line – it’s confusing and frustrates consumers. You shouldn’t have to click through and almost buy the ticket before you see the true price. That $5 discount really wasn’t much of a discount. I found the fare cheaper on other sites.

These new Department of Transportation rules should be the end of pricing issues like this.  Airlines won’t be able to publish ads that list government-imposed taxes and fees separately from the advertised fare. All those fees and taxes must be included in the advertised fare starting Thursday. However, it’s still unclear how the airlines will adjust. We’ll have to wait and see on Thursday.

24 hold policy
Starting today, you’re gaining other rights. You’ll now get 24 hours to make a decision about a fare. You no longer have to rush into booking something because you are afraid the price may change. You can hold a reservation without a payment or even cancel a fare without penalty for 24 hours after you make the reservation. If I were you, I wouldn’t book. I’d hold the fare and buy later because cancelling the fare may involve calling customer service which may take up a lot of time.  This rule only applies if you book or hold the trip one week or more prior to your flight’s departure.

Baggage fees
Ever wonder how much it’s going to cost to check a bag? Those fees will be disclosed with the fare quote. This disclosure is easy to miss as its worded differently on every site and doesn’t always make reference to baggage fees. The picture to the left shows you how one site displays the information. They included a hyperlink titled, “Additional airline fees may apply.” When you click on the link, you are told about the baggage fees. You get the screen below that includes a drop down box to choose your airline.

Another site displayed the information differently. See the photo below.

This airline site says “Additional bag charges may apply” which takes you to a screen about the baggage fees.

I don’t mind the differences in how baggage fees are disclosed as I think the bigger issue is the advertising of prices with taxes and fees. It will be interesting to see how the airlines follow that rule because it directly impacts your ability to quickly comparison shop. I think baggage fees are less of a factor.

Delays
Also, if there is a delay of 30 minutes or more airlines will have to promptly notify passengers. What this actually means remains to be seen. What’s promptly?

Some airlines are not happy about these changes, but it appears these changes will take effect for now.

What do you think of the changes? Click comment below.

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Taxing trips

You always hear cigarette smokers complain when a new tax is proposed for a pack of cigarettes.  However, there’s an item all of us buy regardless of whether we smoke that’s higher taxed.  CNNMoney.com reports that you pay a higher percentage of taxes on airline tickets. Click here to read the whole story.

 

Airline lets you name your price to bump

Delta Air Lines's flagship, the Boeing 777-200LR.

Image via Wikipedia

As I sat at the airport on the way home from visiting family this holiday, I heard an airline announcement over and over asking for volunteers because another flight in the gate area was overbooked.  The deal started rather modest considering the price of tickets for holiday travel. They used to give you a free airline ticket with the first announcement. As a poor college student, I accepted that a few times. Now, there is a dollar price associated with it.

I think travellers are less tempted to bump because the payoff is not worth it. Often it means connecting through other cities, a much later arrival time, and you often don’t get enough money to cover the cost of your flight.

As it got closer to departure time, the airline sweetened the pot, and offered about $100 more. They were desperate to do anything to get someone to bump.

These endless and fruitless announcements may be a thing of the past in the future.  Delta is asking for volunteers when you check in, and you get to tell the airline how much value you put on rebooking.  The consumer names a price, although the airlines says in its blog that the value is based on “typical values offered to customers during the volunteer process.”

Then, the gate agents review the offer and if they accept the offer you are rebooked. It’s a good idea. It may prompt more people to volunteer because they haven’t already been through security and the other inconveniences associated with flying.  With all the headaches that come with flying, it’s hard to find a volunteer at the gate unless a lot of money is at stake.

If you bump with Delta or any airline, make sure you aim sky high.  I’d request  at least the value of my ticket if not more.

Even with this policy, there is still the possibility of involuntarily being bumped. Know your rights if you’re in this situation. Ask for the maximum compensation. If your arrival is delayed 1-2 hours domestically or 1-4 hours internationally, the airline provides up to $400 compensation for that involuntary bump.  If your arrival is more than two hours later within the United States or 4 hours late internationally, you get up to $800.

Delta says it’s rare that a passenger has to involuntarily give up a seat, and that the carrier has the best rate among major U.S. airlines.