Thursday, December 27, 2012

Messier and Messier: The Latest on Airline Bookings and Ancillary Fees

When did booking an airfare become as complicated as trying to get reimbursed by your insurance company? Mazes upon corporate mazes, fees tumbling after fees, products that used to be part of the experience of flying now separated out in a fashion that confuses even travel agents. It's a mess, and it looks like it will only get worse, before it gets better.

Today, the Associated Press has an excellent piece on the titanic struggle going on between the Obama Administration, the airline lobby and consumer groups over how to regulate the ways consumers pay for airfares. Amidst the mess is a court case wending its way through the system to try and overturn the Department of Transportation logical rule (implemented earlier in 2012) that taxes be advertised as part of the final airfare. Southwest, Spirit Airlines and Frontier are calling fowl on that one.

To read the complete piece, click here.

Travel Weekly is also tackling the issue today, with a story detailing the wacky ways "premium seats" are sold (on one airline, the price for them changes by the time of day of the flight!), the fact that customers often have to get deeply into the booking process before discovering what all the ancillary fees will be.

Together the two pieces paint quite an ugly picture of the airline industry today. Take a read. 

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