For our travel deal-hunting community here at ShermansTravel.com, the name of the game has just changed. Gone are the days of too-good-to-be-true advertised rates of $9 fares to Florida, or flights to Europe for $199 (which could easily double, triple, or even quadruple in cost once a thick layer of airline fees, fuel surcharges, and taxes was coated on). As of today, January 26, new government regulations (which we reported on earlier in the month) require that airlines and all third-party travel agencies and websites, like ours, that promote their fares must provide upfront disclosure on the full price of the airfares, including all mandatory taxes and fees, in the name of fair advertising.
Sure, itll take a little getting used to seeing the increased flight and vacation package costs at first glance, but, breathe easy theres been no actual rate hike here, and in the long run, we think this is just the ticket for our deal-savvy readers like you. Plus, the new rules have also made a provision for some interesting new adjustments to airfare reservations. Heres a rundown on what the new rules ultimately mean for you: Are flights and vacation packages now going to be more expensive?
No. Youll notice that the rates on ShermansTravel.com’s flights and vacation packages will appear slightly higher moving forward, but, rest assured, the deals are no more expensive than they were before this change went into effect. Were simply listing the deals true cost, after taxes and fees have been factored in. The base rates for the deals have remained the same, as have the total cost of applicable taxes and fees you’re just now seeing them combined in one shot.
Why were these new rules put into effect?
Before the days of the Internet, airlines clearly advertised their ancillary fees in a neat little jumble of fine print, that was easily located directly underneath the advertised rate. It was tiny, but it was there, and easy to find. These days, with online advertising, that same fine print had become evermore difficult to pin down, with potential customers sometimes having to click through several web pages to get to it, and most of the time, never coming across it all. The new rules have been put in place to promote fairness for airline customers by avoiding any perceived deception in advertising.
Will optional fees, like those for checked bags, also be included in the upfront rates?
No. Any non-mandatory fee, like for optional checked bags, Wi-Fi usage, preferred seating, etc., will not be included in the upfront rate quotes. However, airlines must now provide access to all of those associated fees on one prominent page of their websites for easy reference. Here with those links on some of the major U.S. carriers, should you need them: American | Delta | JetBlue | Spirit | Southwest | United | US Airways.
How do the new rules affect airfare reservations?
Also kicking off this week, passengers will now be able to hold a flight reservation for a full 24 hours without making a payment. And if a payment is indeed made, the new rule also entitles customers to cancel said booking within that same 24-hour window for a full refund, without any penalty. Just note that this 24-hour reservation policy only applies if the reservation is made a week or more ahead of the flights scheduled departure date.
Is this ultimately a good thing or a bad thing for travelers?
For deal-savvy ShermansTravel.com readers, who appreciate value and transparency when booking their travel, were viewing this as a big win. Nothing is changing as far as what youre actually paying, with rates remaining at the same levels as they were before the rules went into effect. Seeing the true total costs of your flight or vacation package upfront, however, will ultimately help you to more accurately compare deals, with no surprise add-on costs for taxes and fees to bust your budget once a deal has caught your eye.
What say you, ShermansTravel readers do you give the new rules a yay or nay?