According to recent research, European consumers can find far better deals on airfare than can North American consumers. This is despite the fact that Europe has significantly higher taxes and fees on air travel.
In 1997, the EU instituted an “open-skies” policy, resulting in more routes, more airline competitors, and lower fares. The open-skies policy lowers airfares by creating a single aviation market among all member countries. The increased competition leads to greater choice and lower fares. The airline market in North America is more regulated than in the EU, and as a result, both the U.S. and Canada currently prohibit foreign-owned airlines from offering domestic flights.
While the United States and the EU signed an open-skies agreement in 2007, foreign airlines still do not have full access to the U.S. internal market. The U.S. retains some of the most restrictive laws on the foreign ownership and operation of airlines in the world, starving its airlines of capital and limiting their options for recovery, growth, and participation in a rapidly globalizing industry.
So what do you think? Should U.S. and Canadian policymakers follow Europe’s example and establish a true open-skies agreement? Or, more realistically, should the Canadian government pursue an open skies agreement with Europe on its own? In which case, I’m catching my next flight to Europe from Vancouver.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- Airlines could face steeper fines for bumping passengers and could be required to prominently disclose all fees (including those checked bag fees you love) under new passenger-centric rules proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The proposed rules would raise compensation to up to $1,300 to passengers bumped from overbooked flights. The new rules would also address growing consumer confusion over fees ranging from checked-bag charges to a summer travel surcharge that make it increasingly difficult for would-be travelers to comparison shop among carriers.
- For all the Star Wars fans out there, the Wyndham Orlando Resort is offering a special rate of $69 per night during the “Star Wars Celebration V” at the Orange County Convention Center in August 2010. Guests can opt to upgrade to a junior suite for $20 more. Star Wars fans will be minutes away from the Convention Center with complimentary transportation provided.
Spirit Airlines is attempting to cash in on the media frenzy surrounding Tiger Woods by running a 10-second online ad promoting its “Eye of the Tiger Sale” – which features a tiger that crashes an SUV into a fire hydrant.
It seems a little disconcerting (and tasteless) that an airline would be touting a fare sale with the depiction of a crash scene. However, the ads are drawing some attention online and from a number of media outlets, including The Huffington Post, the Orlando Sentinel and E! Online – so perhaps it’s “mission accomplished” by the airline?
The USA Today reports that, “this is certainly not the first time Spirit has courted controversy with its advertisements. Just last week, a Spirit press release touted a ‘We’re no Virgin’ fare sale, clearly aimed at rival Virgin America’s new service from Spirit’s Ft. Lauderdale base.”
And in case you’re wondering, the Eye of the Tiger Sale is offering fares from $9 each way.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- The first plane designed to fly day and night without fuel, the Solar Impulse HB-SIA, lifted off for the first time today in Switzerland. Test pilot Markus Scherdel flew 350 meters down an icy runway at an altitude of one meter in a flight lasting 28 seconds. The Impulse is as wide as a Boeing 747, but weighs only about 1.7 tons. The 12,000 solar cells mounted on the wing are designed to provide renewal solar power to the plane’s 4 electric motors.
- With wintry conditions expected throughout Southeast Texas this weekend, Continental Airlines is offering passengers the chance to change flight reservations at no charge. Passengers with reservations to or from George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 will be allowed to make the penalty-free switch provided the rescheduled travel begins by Dec. 20. Refunds may also be requested for canceled flights.
- Just in time for the holiday season, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, an official sponsor of Cirque du Soleil touring shows, today announced exclusive discounts for Wintuk — the seasonal family show performing in New York — as well as stays at its Wyndham hotels in the city. Wyndham is celebrating the return of the winter adventure to Manhattan with a double discount: 30% off the regular ticket price of any Wintuk show and a special 15% discount when booking at its participating NYC hotels.
BTW – If you’re planning to stay at a NYC hotel (or any hotel) you should be tracking prices with Yapta before you book. That way you’ll know when prices drop and you can save big!