U.S. Department of Transportation Forcing Airlines to Post Real Prices
Getting a great deal on an airline ticket may be available to everyone soon without massive internet searching. The U.S. Department of Transportation is demanding that airlines be more transparent when it comes to airfares.
I travel a lot but once I’m settled in, I often wonder what everyone else around me has paid to be on the same flight. I should probably add that I’m one of the most frugal fliers you’ll ever find and I will scour the net until I find the price that I’m willing to pay to go anywhere. I once flew coast-to-coast (and back) for $112!
With the new rules, travelers will be able to clearly see how much they’re actually paying for their ticket with mandatory fees and taxes already added in. No longer will you jump on a good sounding price only to find the surcharges cost more than the actual ticket.
Bill McGee, Travel and Aviation Consultant with Consumers Union, a policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports conducted a test with his colleagues to analyze travel Web sites.
For the better part of three years, airfares on Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, Travelocity and dozens of other travel sites were repeatedly searched. The findings resulted in two undeniable facts. The first, “airlines and other travel companies may pay for better placement in the listings on third-party travel sites.” The second, “we found time and again that no single site continually offers the best flight and fare options, so to quote Smokey Robinson: you’d better shop around,” McGee told the Huffington Post.
“Other problems came to light as well. For example, we heavily criticized travel sites for what we termed ‘fare jumping’ — you know, when that price you’ve just located is suddenly replaced with a screen page advising you it is suddenly not available,” McGee added. “We found it’s critical that consumers have the ability to comparison shop in an apples-to-apples fashion. After a few years, the shopping process slowly began to improve for armchair travel agents. Then the airlines completely changed the game, and completely muddied online pricing.”
I know this all too well. I would find a great ticket price and the moment I would go to “ckeck-out,” the price nearly doubled — no more.
Starting this week, when you book online the published fares will already include the nickle-and-dining the airlines are so famous for.
Expect sticker shock, but at least now you’ll know the real price before getting your hopes up and giving your credit card whip lash.