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January 26, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger, This post has been updated. See below for details
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.
January 1, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
Fly from Albuquerque to Tucson on Southwest Airlines for $59, from Asheville, N.C., to Orlando on Allegiant Air for $49, or from Boston to Chicago on Spirit Airlines for only $9. If these fares seem too good to be true, that's because they are. An asterisk accompanies the online ads for the fares, with the fine print indicating that additional fees and taxes apply. In some cases the additional charges raise the final ticket price by 20% or more. Starting Jan. 26, no more asterisks.
April 22, 1998 | Bloomberg News
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 30, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
  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, 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 has animated the effects of the storm on flights in an online video, shown above.
October 29, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
In anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, the nation's airlines canceled about 9,500 flights on Monday and Tuesday, mostly along the East Coast. The greatest number of canceled flights were from Philadelphia International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, La Guardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to the air travel tracking site Because the storm is on a path for the nation's busiest airspace, the impact of the cancellations has already begun to spread around the country, including 81 canceled flights into Los Angeles International Airport and 84 into San Francisco International Airport.
August 12, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
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.
January 4, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
The U.S. Transportation Department has fined AirTran Airways $60,000 for violating a federal rule that prohibits advertising fares without clearly disclosing additional fees and taxes. Under federal rules, airlines that advertise airfares in the U.S. can disclose government-imposed taxes and fees separately on the same page or an Internet link so long as it is easy for passengers determine the full price. An investigation by Transportation Department found that AirTran advertised $59 one-way fares last fall on several websites.
July 16, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
Just in time for travel to the summer Olympics in London, US Airways has increased bag fees for transatlantic passengers. The Tempe, Ariz.-based airline increased the fee for a second checked bag to $100 from $70 for tickets purchased on or after July 11 or for flights departing on that date. A US Airways spokeswoman said the fee was raised to match higher charges imposed by the airlines' competitors and had nothing to do with the upcoming Olympics. "That's just a coincidence," said Liz Landau, a spokeswoman for US Airways.
October 4, 2012 | By Pat Benson
New airline fees could be coming. That's the take of George Hobica, founder of , 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.
October 19, 2012 | By Pat Benson
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.
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