The U.S. House of Representatives’ suspension calendar is an unlikely ground zero for a midsummer battle over airline ticket advertising. But then, almost nothing about the oddly named Transparent Airfares Act, a bill championed by the domestic airline industry, has followed a likely trajectory. Read more “How airlines plan to have their way with fare disclosure”
Memo to corporate America: Your customers are not walking dollar bills.
You don’t have to be a consumer advocate to know that. Just attend a random corporate event and you’ll see that companies don’t always see their customers the way they should.
The meeting I attended for a major transportation company — that shall remain nameless — was impressive. C-level execs in their Italian suits showed off some brand-new products that wowed everyone in attendance. But whenever they talked about the customer, and particularly customer satisfaction, it was in a detached, almost clinical way.
A survey of 651 readers found an overwhelming majority (80.2 percent) believe airlines or travel agents should quote an “all-in” price that includes any optional fees that traditionally were part of the ticket, such as a fee for the first checked bag or the ability to reserve a seat, when they ask for a fare quote.
A smaller number (17.4 percent) were content to wait until they were done shopping, but before they booked their tickets. Only 2.3 percent say it’s OK to show the total price when they’re ready to buy the ticket. And 0.2 percent — a single respondent — thought the fees should never be revealed. Read more “When should an airline tell you about fees? Survey says …”
Ever wished there was a law that forces airlines to disclose all extras on their tickets? Right up front. While you’re shopping for flights.
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) apparent does, so he’s proposed bill that would do just that. The Clear Airfares Act of 2009 would ensure that before passengers are required to submit personal or payment information, they’re given a full and clear breakdown of their airfare, as well as any other possible fees that might be incurred on the flight (such as baggage, meal and pet fees).
The proposal comes at a great time. This year, airlines have instituted a new holiday surcharge of as much as $50 per flight on the busiest travel days during the holiday season. For consumers, it requires clicking to peripheral Web pages and wading through often confusing text to understand whether or not their airfare includes these surcharges and what other taxes and fees may have been added, according to Menendez. Read more “Clear Airfares Act of 2009 aims to expose hidden fees and taxes”