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Tag Results: Airline Fees
Airports: Can’t live with ‘em, can’t fly to dazzling locations across the globe without ‘em. But recently, they’ve made headlines an awful lot. We’ve collected a few choice stories from the skies this week, from good samaritans to free Wi-Fi on flights.
About a week into the New Year, it’s typical for resolutions to wane. You’re dragging yourself to the gym less and less, your brand new bass guitar is already gathering dust, and you couldn’t even make it through a day without lighting up one more “last” cigarette. But Southwest Airlines is bent on keeping a fairly common resolution – to save more money – by instituting a new fee on fliers who forget to cancel their flights.
Beginning sometime this year, Southwest will impose a “no-show” fee on customers who fail to cancel their seats before missing their flights. The airline is well known for implementing fewer customer fees than its competitors, remaining the only major U.S. carrier to not charge fliers for changing flight plans or checking bags. Under the current policy, no-show customers are able to apply the full value of their ticket toward the purchase of another, and that policy will remain.
January 1stmarked the launch of a new European Union law requiring carbon emission offset payments for all flights in and out of Europe. Not popularly received by airlines outside of Europe, who’ve expressed resistance to the additional charges (a handful of major Chinese airlines said they wouldn’t pay the fees, and were threatened with a ban from European airports), European-based airlines held similar sentiments, complaining that the carbon fee and cap requirements were asking too much too soon. U.S. airlines were likewise opposed, but since boycotting lucrative European markets simply isn’t an option, they’ve opted to implement fare hikes to cover the carbon cost – all in all, ticket prices for travel to, from, and within European markets are shaping up to average an increase of an estimated 3 percent. Read more
Have you ever gone gaga for those $9 advertised airfares, only to discover that after taking into account applicable taxes and fees, they worked out to as much as 10 times as much? New U.S. Department of Transportation rules, set to take effect on January 26, will soon require airlines and travel sites to disclose the full price of a ticket upfront, inclusive of all fees and taxes. While consumers might rejoice at the promise of transparency in advertised rates (particularly on international fares, where some of the most drastic discrepancies between base rates and post-tax and fee-inclusive fares apply), some airlines aren’t quite so happy. In fact, a handful, including Southwest, Spirit, and Allegiant, are going to court to try and defend their right to free speech and to utilize that long-used little asterisk, leading to that dreaded tiny paragraph of fee- and tax-disclosure print. Read more
The holidays are just around the corner, and if you’re anything like us, you’re probably hoping you won’t have to pay an arm and a turkey leg to get home to celebrate. Though most airline industry experts’ analysis is pointing to holiday fares that average about 6 to 10 percent more this year than last, there are still plentiful ways to snag a reasonable rate – just check out these 10 tips for booking holiday flights.
So why the “bah humbug” uptick in costs? With oil prices on the rise, airlines are consolidating flights, cutting unprofitable routes, and using smaller planes, but there still remains a discernible surge in flyer demand. Once-reluctant travelers who may have skipped out on flights home for the holidays in years past just aren’t willing to hold off on Aunt Edna’s homemade pumpkin pie another year. And though travelers have proven eager to get back in the air, the copious number of routes that have been grounded over the last couple of years (as much as 15 percent of capacity has been cut since 2008, in response to the economic crisis) translates to fewer seats for sale – and less desperation on behalf of the airlines to fill them.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s revised regulations aimed at boosting airline passenger protection, announced in April, finally take effect today. Among the new rules, passengers are entitled to a refund of baggage fees if their bags are lost, increased compensation if bumped from oversold flights, and more effective notifications and handling of lengthy tarmac delays.
While airlines are already obligated to reimburse passengers for loss, damaged, or delayed baggage, they must now also prominently disclose all optional fees on their websites. These include fees for baggage, meals, canceling or changing reservations, and upgraded seating.
The partial FAA shutdown and resulting expiration of certain taxes has wrought a whole mess of money issues for airlines and their passengers, and now the IRS is providing some much-needed guidance.
The good news so far: If you’re flying during the partial shutdown but bought plane tickets before it began, you should receive a refund. The annoying news: You’ll probably have to wade through IRS red tape to get that cash.
In a notice on its website Wednesday, the IRS announced that, “Passengers who paid for tickets on or before July 22, 2011, for travel beginning on or after July 23, 2011, may be entitled to a refund on the tax.”
The notice goes on to explain that airlines may refund passengers, “just as they do in the ordinary course of business when issuing refunds for unused refundable tickets (including the associated taxes).”
Last June, the U.S. Department of Transportation heard air travelers’ frustrated voices when it passed the “Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections II” policy, which regulated compensation for involuntarily bumped passengers and outlawed price increases after a customer purchased a ticket. This spring, lawmakers are on our side again. Yesterday the DOT announced amendments to the June 2010 policies that address a host of flyer complaints, including clear disclosure of all necessary fees, increased payments for travelers kicked off packed planes, limits on tarmac delays, and adequate notification when flights are held up. Even better: The new regulations take effect in August. Here’s what to watch for this summer.
Finally! A sliver of good news in the miserly airline fee world: Frontier Airlines is lowering – yes, lowering – its ticket change fee, plus shaving $5 off of its checked baggage costs for customers who book online, reports MSNBC.com.
Beginning with flights booked today, Frontier will charge $50 to modify coach class itineraries – half what it previously cost – and online luggage fees drop to $15, compared to $20 at the airport. Even cyclists will save some cash: The airline is eliminating its flat fee for bike checks and will instead charge just $20 to stash two-wheelers en route.
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