Deloitte’s Simonetto: “It’s easy to view this as the big, bad airline taking advantage of travelers”

Mike Simonetto is the principal and global leader of Deloitte Consulting’s pricing and profitability practice. With airlines and other travel companies testing our willingness to pay fees, I wanted to ask a pricing expert like him why travel companies were doing this and where it’s all headed.

American Car Rental Association chief: I’m “adamantly opposed” to à la carte pricing

Times are hard for car rental companies. No one knows that better than Robert Barton, chief operating officer for U-Save Car & Truck Rental and president of the American Car Rental Association. Times are also hard for car rental customers, who are experiencing new fees, surcharges and higher prices. I asked Barton to explain what’s happening, and what the industry plans to do.

Grab your protest signs and a bullhorn, and head to Miami next month

If you’re tired of being nickeled and dimed to death when you fly, you might want to be in Miami on May 12 and 13. That’s when hundreds of executives will gather at an industry conference to figure out how to grow the $3.5 billion in so-called “ancillary” revenues they expect to collect from us this year.

“Is this a new trend by rental companies to make a few extra bucks?”

Are the car rental companies taking a page from the airlines’ playbook, when it comes to fees and surcharges? Charles Locher thinks so. First, Hertz billed him an extra $26 for gas and fuel service, even though he had prepaid for both. Then another car rental company socked his friend with a $120 “interior cleaning” charge, even though the vehicle was returned in good shape.

Ticked off skiers launch grassroots effort to lift new baggage fees

They may be a little late to the game, but then again, the first skiers who will probably be hit by these fees won’t see them until this summer (winter in South American ski resorts like Valle Nevado and Cerro Catedral). But a group of skiers is protesting the planned second-bag surcharge that United Airlines and US Airways have announced, hoping to enlist scuba divers, golfers and parents with strollers to their cause.

Florida Attorney General announces sellout “settlement” with Royal Caribbean

Are the illegal fuel surcharges imposed by cruise lines about to be scuttled? Don’t hold your breath. Royal Caribbean today announced a settlement with Florida’s Attorney General to eliminate its controversial fuel surcharge for bookings made before Nov. 16 and to refund any fees already collected. Other major cruise lines are expected to follow.

“Cruise lines concertedly and deceptively implemented a fuel surcharge”

The first of what could be several fuel charge-related lawsuits against the cruise lines was filed earlier this week in Miami. Coral Gables, Fla., attorney Harley Tropin submitted the complaint, which seeks class action status, on behalf of New York resident Jason Ablelove. It charges several large cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Line, with colluding to fix unreasonably high fuel surcharges.

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