Monday, March 13, 2006

Bottom Line: What's it Going to Cost Me?

The price of a ticket just isn't what it used to be. 

Oh sure, there's the base fare, which is always very low.  That's the price that we see advertised; the price that gets everyone excited about traveling.  It's what makes the trip that we are contemplating sound affordable.

But then you have to add to that base fare the various taxes (local, state, federal) and fees (airport fees, fuel surcharges, security fees, etc.) and before you know it, the price of the ticket can nearly double.

I've long been a proponent of one-price shopping when it comes to airline tickets.  The price you are quoted for your ticket should include ALL charges that you will have to pay.  NO hidden add ons.  NO surprises. 

Apparently I'm not alone in this belief, as the DOT's recent proposal to keep base fare lows, but then allow the airline to tack on additional fees, is being met with opposition in the U.S. Senate.

Does anyone really care what the base price is?  Isn't what's really important the total that you are going to have to pay for your travel?

If you're of the same mind as I am (that allowing an artificially low advertising fare, when the reality, after all the fees are tacked on, is substantially quite higher) is deceptive, as well as ridiculous, consider writing your Senator or Representative to express your opinion.  Tell then you want your fees up front, not hidden.  As soon as I finish this post, that's exactly what I'll be doing.

Via Upgrade: Travel Better


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Traytable said...

We recently had a big fuss about this very thing here, between Qantas and Virgin Blue. Qantas started advertising fares exclusive of taxes, so they would appear lower than Virgin's.

Virgin Blue reluctantly followed, but placed a prominent banner on their web page explaining why, and telling people to complain.

Now, the decision has been reversed and all airlines here must advertise fares plus the specific amount of tax paid, if it is not included in the overall fare. (Previously they had out an asterisk and *"further taxes apply")

Couldn't link to it, so have posted it here:

"29 April 2005

Virgin Blue All-Inclusive Pricing Campaign Pays Off

Virgin Blue Airlines has announced it will move to all-inclusive air fare pricing from Tuesday May 10 following months of lobbying various organisations including the ACCC, the Australian Consumers Commission and the Federal Government for an across board regulation on advertising practices.

The low fare carrier has been a strong advocate of all-inclusive pricing as an airline industry standard, but was forced earlier this year to follow the advertising practises of other Australian carriers in order to remain competitive .

Virgin Blue Chief Executive Brett Godfrey said, “We noted that the Treasurer has signalled his intention to amend the Trade Practices Act to ensure single figure pricing, this has given us the confidence to act now rather than wait for that change.”
Virgin Blue believed the practice to be confusing and misleading but was forced to follow suit or appear in consumers eyes to be the more expensive carrier and be at a competitive disadvantage in an increasingly competitive aviation market.

In recent months, the airline has been strongly campaigning for a change to the Trade Practices Act to enforce all-inclusive pricing for airlines so that all carriers are upfront in their advertising.
Brett Godfrey said, “We’ve said from day one that all-inclusive pricing is the most transparent and upfront way of advertising airfares and are glad our competition has come to realise that. People want to know that the advertised amount is what they are going to pay and not get any nasty surprises when they get to the end.”

“Travellers shouldn’t have to get out their binoculars to read the fine print and calculators to work out the total price of their flight. Reverting back to all-inclusive pricing is a victory for common sense and fairness”, Brett Godfrey finished.

Fly Girl said...

This is the type of policy currently under review and discussion in the U.S. Senate.

Our airlines quote the very low (and fee-free) prices, and then the consumer gets the real price (often at a shocking increase) when they actually try to book the travel.

I'd love to see us go to an all-inclusive pricing that must be used in advertising. You guys have the right idea on that one!

Flygirl said...

I'm with you Fly Girl! I think all the add ons are ridiculous when you find out about them later...I hope that the Senate approves all inclusive pricing.