Tag: airfare

New Jersey Senator, Robert Menendez (D) stood in Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport yesterday to announce that he would be re-introducing legislation that would ensure travelers get a clear breakdown of holiday surcharges and all add-on fees, including baggage, meals and pets.

The legislation, which Menendez termed “The Clear Airfares Act”, calls for fees, charges or surcharges to be disclosed in a straightforward transaction before customers have to input their name and credit card information.  Menendez said travelers have to click through peripheral web pages and wade through often confusing text to understand whether or not their airfare includes surcharges or added fees.Menendez

“Trying to navigate through the different components in your airfare is like an airline pilot trying to land a plane in a thunderstorm without electronic instruments or a map,” he said. “It’s technically possible, but it sure isn’t easy.”

Menendez’s bill — which he will introduce this week and hopes to pass next year — would require the transaction to be “straightforward, simple and transparent.”  Under Menendez’s bill, as each passenger selects from a list of options while booking online, a cost will appear for each item — the basic airfare, security tax, a holiday surcharge (if applicable), baggage, meals, pets and so on.

The principle is simple: Passengers should know what they’re paying for when they buy a ticket.  It’s basic consumer protection.  And, like many arriving flights at Newark Airport, it’s long overdue.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Allegiant Air announced today it will move its low-cost service to Orlando International Airport beginning February 8, 2010.  Allegiant Air had provided service from GSP to Orlando via the Orlando-Sanford International Airport.  The low-fare carrier says it will offer the new service with introductory fares at $59.99 each way.
  • British Airways has agreed to pay cancellation penalties and other expenses for about 2,200 consumers who responded to an erroneous offer of $40 fares between the U.S. and India.  The fare, which didn’t include taxes and fees, was posted on British Airways’ Web site at about 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 2 and was removed within minutes.  However, the ad remained on other online travel sites for about two hours.
  • Planes belonging to Southwest Airlines and FedEx  suffered minor damage when they bumped wings while on the ground in Salt Lake City.  A Southwest spokesman said the airline’s jet was beginning to pull back from the gate when it was clipped by a FedEx cargo plane Sunday morning.  No passengers were hurt, and they were put on another plane for the trip to Albuquerque.  The plane was fixed and put back in duty.

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This month Yapta is giving away another 5-night / 6-day stay at a Marriott or Renaissance resort in the Caribbean or Mexico as part of our “Nine Months of Paradise by Marriott” Sweepstakes.  By simply tracking a flight with Yapta.com anytime in October, you can enter to win a stay at the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa.  You can also win one of 14 other prizes, including Bose On-Ear Headphones or a Starbucks gift card.

Again, all you have to do is visit Yapta.com and track the airfare on any flight and Yapta will present you with the opportunity to participate.  You can increase your chances of winning by tracking up to 25 flights each month to receive the maximum 25 entries into the sweepstakes.

Don’t think you can actually win?  Well, don’t say that to Emily Lakin from San Francisco, CA; Jan Walker from Springfield, MO;  Laquitta Sobieski from Ocala, FL or Sharon Weinstein from Branford, CT.  They’ve each taken home a Grand Prize in the first 4 months of our 9-month sweepstakes contests.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • United Airlines has introduced a “Premier Baggage program” where  you pay a $249 yearly subscription fee and you (plus up to eight people traveling with you on the same reservation) get to check up to two bags per person, per flight for “free” all year.
  • AirTran Airways is now offering nonstop service from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to New Orleans and Indianapolis.  Previously, Southwest Airlines was the only carrier to offer a daily nonstop flight between New Orleans and BWI.   Southwest stopped running two daily nonstop flights after Hurricane Katrina decreased flight demands.
  • There’s an apparent email scam that’s offering people domestic and international flights at low fares.  However, once people put down their money and attempt to collect the ticket from the airline, they find they’ve been duped because the booking does not exist.

Airfare Prices Stabilizing?

The Associated Press reports that, “the great airline sale of 2009 may be ending,” and that, “airline fares may be leveling off.”

“Air fares, which had declined steadily throughout this year, are beginning to show signs of stabilizing. For travelers, that means the strategy of waiting to book so prices can drop even more has probably run its course.”

While we agree, in general, that capacity cuts have served as a parachute for free-falling airfare prices, competition among airlines for certain markets is just heating up and should continue to drive prices down.   For example, look at AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines providing more competition in Milwaukee.  The same can be said for Denver now that Southwest and Frontier airlines are competing more heavily.  Also, there’s now 3 major US low-cost airlines (JetBlue, AirTran and Southwest) that are all offering nonstop flights from Boston’s Logan International Airport to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

The Boston-Baltimore competition reflects the growth and aggressiveness of the low-fare carriers, which are entering new markets at a time when overall air travel is down 21 percent from a year ago, according to the ATA.  This competition completely changes the game as the low-cost airlines are no longer going into markets to undercut the big legacy carriers.  Instead, they’re increasingly forced to compete with each other – which results in dirt cheap airfares.

The truth is, airfare prices are never “stable”.  In fact, the words “airfare” and “stable” should never be used in the same sentence.   Never.  It’s always a safe practice to track airfare prices as early as possible in your travel planning process and to begin to gain insight into spot market pricing.  Over time, you’ll see where prices are trending and you’ll be able to make a more informed purchasing decision.  (Tracking mulitple flights across multiple carriers will only help  you spotlight a bargain airfare.)

It’s never a question of, “will prices drop?”  Airfares rise and fall quite frequently – and will continue to do so.  The more relevant question is, “will you know when the price drops?”  You will if you’re tracking airfare prices with Yapta.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • U.S. airlines have built upon last month’s move to include “peak travel” surcharges, adding 10 additional high-travel days in which fliers will have to pay a premium.  American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and US Airways added $10 surcharges last month to airfare for flights on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and for Jan. 2 and 3, typically busy days for airlines due to holiday travelers.
  • Budget Travel Magazine published an article indicating that “it’s bidder’s travel market.”  As such, they’ve published their “5 steps to smart bidding“.
  • WestJet Airlines announced it will launch new, nonstop seasonal service between Alberta, Canada, and Honolulu and Maui next spring.  WestJet will fly between Calgary and Honolulu once a week from March 7 to April 25, and between Calgary and Maui from March 6 to May 1.  Service between Edmonton and Kahului, Maui, will run March 5 through April 30.
  • Frontier Airlines announced seasonal increases in its flight frequencies between Denver and four Mexican resort destinations, including Cancun, Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos.  The Denver-based airline’s schedule changes take effect Dec. 19 and are on sale now.

According to the 2010 American Express Business Travel forecast released today, airfares will go up around the globe next year as airlines pare their schedules and demand revives, but average hotel rates should fall in most regions.

American Express Business Travel said overall ticket prices will increase by up to 5 percent globally for economy class short-haul flights.  Business class long-haul fares are projected to increase by 1 to 6 percent.  In North America, ticket prices are expected to rise between 2 and 7 percent in economy class and 1 to 6 percent in business class.

But while most passengers will be paying more for airfare, the forecast said hotels will be forced to cut rates further as they try to draw more customers back.  In North America, mid-range rates are expected to fall by 1 to 4 percent.  Upper-range hotel prices in North America are projected to decline by 3 to 6 percent.

The 2010 Forecast is based on a number of sources, including the American Express Business Travel Monitor, the American Express contracted rates database, transaction reports, Smith Travel Research Global Hotel Reviews and NBTA-IHS Global Insights business travel market sizing research.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • American Airlines flight 1318 is being held at Logan International Airport this afternoon for inspection after a threatening note was found in the lavatory of the plane.  The plane, a Boeing 757, was being boarded for a 2:30 p.m. flight to Miami when a flight attendant found the threatening note.  The note is reported to have read, “Bomb on board, Boston to Miami flight.”  The people who had already begun boarding Flight 1318 were taken off the plane.  The plane was taken away from its gate and brought to a runway where it is currently being checked.
  • Southwest Airlines’s Winter Fare Sale has flights starting at $59 one way.  Flights must be purchased by Oct. 15 for travel through Feb. 11, excluding Fridays, Sundays and most holidays. A 14-day advance purchase is required.
  • The Orlando Magic and AirTran Airways announced a new, multi-year relationship in which the airline will become a “Champions of the Community” partner for the Orlando Magic’s new Amway Center.  Starting this season, AirTran will receive branding in key aspects of Magic marketing and communications, including in-arena interactive elements and signage, radio, print and Internet promotion.

Airlines Planning New Holiday Travel Surcharge

Justin Bachman from BusinessWeek.com’s Traveler’s Check blog, reports that, “a new $10 surcharge for three popular travel dates this winter could make visiting family more expensive. American Airlines imposed a $10 charge on domestic flights for Nov. 29 (the Sunday after Thanksgiving) and on Jan. 2-3, the weekend that many people will be returning home from Christmas and/or New Year’s holiday celebrations. United matched the new charge late Thursday, and on Friday Delta and US Airways said they would follow.

…The fee – while potentially annoying to millions of travelers – demonstrates that airlines see much firmer demand this winter as more people plan to travel this year. In 2008, amid government bailouts of the financial system and enormous losses for stocks, airlines were devastated by weak demand and fearful consumers.”

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

* The Baltimore Sun notes that “if college students with an itch to travel apply their smarts, they can save hundreds of dollars on airfare, whether they are going home for Thanksgiving or planning for spring break.”

* United Airlines announced this week that it would add two new routes from Denver, saying it will add two daily round-trip flights to Midland, Texas, and one to Louisville. United will be the sole nonstop option on both routes, which start Dec. 17th. The new routes, of course, come as United, Frontier and Southwest engage in an increasingly competitive effort to carve out a piece of the Denver market.