November 4, 2012 |
Question: Several readers have asked for information about what to do when a relative who plans to make an airline trip dies before the trip can be taken. Does nonrefundable mean nonrefundable? Answer: When airlines say "nonrefundable fare," they usually mean it. Except when they don't. Don't get excited. This doesn't mean you'll get your money back if, say, you change your mind about going to (fill-in-the-blank place) because you're worried about (fill-in-the-blank anxiety-inducing issue)
May 4, 2010 |
As expected, United Airlines and Continental Airlines announced Monday that they're climbing into the cockpit together, creating the world's largest carrier. And, as expected, the two companies said this would result in "best-in-class customer service" for passengers. Yeah? Not to be a Gloomy Gus as the wedding bells are still ringing, but can anyone think of a single major merger that's resulted in better service (never mind lower prices) for consumers? Maybe among phone companies?
January 26, 2012 |
If airfares seem a little higher than usual, it's not because the airlines have raised their prices. The Department of Transportation's long-awaited new rules on what airlines can advertise as posted ticket prices go into effect Thursday. I think of it as the "no surprises" rule. The biggest change: Published airfares (online, on billboards, in print, over the phone) must include all taxes and fees. The idea is that consumers looking for the lowest airfare won't be misled by super-low prices that increase exponentially after fees and taxes are added on. The rule applies to airlines, ticket agents and online travel booking sites like Expedia, Orbitz, etc. Kayak, however, already publishes the total cost of airfares on its site.
October 28, 2012 |
In the first six months of 2012, the nation's largest airlines collected more than $1.7 billion in fees to check baggage. One way to avoid such fees is to use an airline such as Southwest Airlines, which doesn't charge for the first two bags. Another way is more questionable. Eric Rose, a business consultant who travels frequently, came across the second method on a recent flight on Virgin America. He saw several passengers drag bags that were too big for overhead bins to the gate, only to have the gate attendant send the bags to the cargo hold without charging a baggage-check fee. The move saved the passengers $25 per bag. Rose pointed out the loophole in an email to Virgin America's chief executive, David Cush.
April 22, 1998 |
The Transportation Department granted six small airlines takeoff and landing slots at Chicago's O'Hare and New York's LaGuardia airports. America West Airlines was given five exemptions--each exemption allows the carrier one arrival or departure--at O'Hare, which the airline plans to use to boost the number of daily Chicago-Phoenix round trips to five. Atlantic Coast Airlines and Trans States Airlines each received 16 O'Hare exemptions, and Simmons Airlines got 16 temporary exemptions there.
October 4, 2012 |
Faced with higher fuel prices, airlines have come up with a variety of fees to make money on top of airfares. Take Spirit Airlines, whose website lists 72 fees in eight different categories, including baggage fees, seat fees and onboard food and drink fees. Spirit, the first U.S.-based carrier to impose a fee for carry-on bags, this week announced that it will soon begin charging $100 if passengers show up to the gate with a carry-on bag instead of paying ahead of time. That's up from $45. LIVE VIDEO DISCUSSION: Join us at 2 p.m. today Airline industry reporter Hugo Martin will discuss airline fees with George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com , a low-airfare alert and air travel advice website.
October 4, 2012 |
New airline fees could be coming. That's the take of George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com , a low-airfare alert and air travel advice website. Hobica talked with airline industry reporter Hugo Martin about trends in airline fees. The latest comes from Spirit Airlines, whose website lists 72 fees in eight different categories, including baggage fees, seat fees and on-board food and drink fees. Spirit, the first U.S.-based carrier to impose a fee for carry-on bags, this week announced that it will soon begin charging $100 if passengers show up to the gate with a carry-on bag instead of paying ahead of time.
August 12, 2012 |
If you have amassed reward miles but don't want to hassle with flying, United Airlines now lets you spend your rewards on music or movies. The Chicago-based airline recently created a digital media store -- the first in the industry, according to the airline -- that lets members use reward miles to buy or rent songs and movies. TV shows will come to the store soon. For example, United's MileagePlus members can buy Justin Bieber's latest hit, "Boyfriend," for only 150 miles. Or buy the whole album, titled “Believe,” for 1,375 miles.
October 19, 2012 |
Americans may be getting fatter, but economy seating on airlines is getting tighter. Legroom on airplanes is going the way of free checked bags, pillows and in-flight meals, travel reporter Hugo Martin writes. If you want more room, get ready to pay for it. Join us for a live video chat at 2 p.m. PDT about the trend. Martin will be talking with Jan Breuckner, a UC Irvine professor who has studied airlines, and Barry Biffle, chief marketing officer of Spirit Airlines. LIVE VIDEO DISCUSSION: Join us at 2 p.m. today While the cheapest seats are getting tighter, cash-strapped airlines are charging premiums for a new category of roomier economy seats with catchy names like “The Big Front Seat” and “Economy Plus.” Spirit's “Big Front Seat,” with six extra inches of legroom, costs an extra $12 to $199, depending on the length of the flight.
October 30, 2012 |
Airline cancellations continued to mount, with a few carriers beginning to cancel flights scheduled for Thursday. Super storm Sandy is now blamed for the cancellation of 18,100 flights, stretching from Saturday to Wednesday, according to the travel monitoring site, Flightaware.com. The canceled flights were primarily to and from storm-ravaged cities along the East Coast. About 50 or so flights were already canceled for Thursday. The website Flightstats.com has animated the effects of the storm on flights in an online video, shown above.