Category Archives: fees

Bradley Fares: Less Expensive but More Expensive

Fares out of Bradley fell 3.7 percent, adjusted for inflation, between the second quarter of 2012 and the second quarter of 2013, nearly identical to a 3.6 percent drop in domestic fares nationwide, reports The Hartford Courant, citing the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. But Bradley’s average round-trip fare was $36 higher than the national average.

I wonder whether one possible reasons for higher fares is that so much of Bradley’s traffic — 38 percent of passengers — is carried by Southwest and JetBlue, which don’t charge for checked bags. (Bag fees aren’t included in the BTS stats.) So the fares look higher but passengers don’t necessarily pay more.

Or not. Figuring out whether bag fees are a factor would require calculating the percentage of flights flown by Southwest and JetBlue at each airport. And then you’d have to look at the percentage flown by hucksters like Spirit and Allegiant that charge for carry-on bags. And then you’d need to be a good statistician to figure out whether any correlation might involve other factors.

And I’m not that smart or that patient.

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There Is No Pie in the Sky

There’s a rumor out on the Interwebs that Delta Air Lines is thinking about a discussion of how it might possibly consider reintroducing complimentary hot meal service on long domestic coach flights.

My favorite message board remark, so far, on this possibility: “The only thing more offensive than the airline meal was when the airlines stopped serving them.”

The truth of this rumor is probably irrelevant. Delta may or may not be having meetings where executives bandy about the idea of giving coach passengers hot meals. Executives are forever bandying, which is what passes for leadership these days. It doesn’t matter because Delta will never, ever in a million years do it.

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The Resort Fee Deception

The Department of Transportation has been fining airlines and travel agencies left and right for failing to disclose fees and thus obscuring the bottom line when advertising and selling airfares. So why are hotels getting away with the same thing?

One reason might be that hotels are (with a few possible exceptions) stationary, and therefore outside the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation. The DOT has sharpened its bite quite a bit in recent years, but some other agencies seem to be in the barking stage on this issue.

Last November the Federal Trade Commission warned what it described as “22 hotel operators” that their online reservation systems “may violate the law” by hiding resort fees and other mandatory charges. The warning letter went on to “strongly encourage” them to review their websites. Otherwise, “the FTC may take action.”

Woof, woof. One might hope for firmer language.

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A Look At Ryanair’s Abusive Policies

It’s pretty much a given that Ryanair will charge an extra fee for anything and everything it can think of, but I got a look today at how predatory that airline’s practices really are.

Some relatives got an email this morning from Ryanair stating that they would be charged 40 euros each for boarding passes at the airport — a penalty because they had not checked in online and printed passes at least four hours before their domestic flight in Spain.

At the current exchange rate that’s $50. To print a piece of paper. (And what’s with the four-hour cutoff?)

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Southwest Offers Fairness On Ticket Changes

I was reminded today of another reason to like Southwest Airlines: flexibility on changing reservations.

While most airlines charge a substantial penalty to switch flights, Southwest simply charges the difference in fare, if any. So when I had to change a reservation today for business reasons, the cost was just $84 — and that was only only because I changed my return from a Tuesday, when fares are lower, to a Saturday, when they tend to be higher. Had I changed it from Tuesday to Wednesday, there would have been no charge at all.

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