The complexities and variability of airfares can be disconcerting even to the most patient people. Two recent articles appearing in the Wall Street Journal illustrate the situation. The second article referenced in this post shows how dire matters are to many fliers — the government is proposing a new disclosure rule.
First, Scott McCartney reported about the “Airfare Riddle: Same Flight, Different Prices”:
“The flight is the same. Even the seat is the same. So why is the airline charging two different — sometimes very different — prices? American Airlines and US Airways, which merged late last year, are selling seats on each other’s airplanes. But they are pricing tickets separately, and will continue to do so for the next 18 to 24 months. American flights have one price in American’s reservation system and sometimes a different price in US Airways’ reservation system. Same for flights on US Airways airplanes: Check both AA.com and USAirways.com and you’re likely to see different prices.”
“The savings opportunity for savvy travelers can sometimes be large. Earlier this week, a one-way ticket on American’s Flight 1054 from Boston to Dallas-Fort Worth was $656 on American’s website, but only $346 on USAirways.com. A Phoenix-Seattle round trip on US Airways flights for travel June 13 to 20 was $359 on US Airways’ Web site, but only $298 on AA.com.”
Within McCartney’s article was an interesting chart. Click the image for a larger version.
Second, Jack Nicas wrote about “U.S. Government Proposes Requiring Airlines to Disclose More Fees”:
“The U.S. Transportation Department’s proposed new rule would enable customers to see airline fees for the first two checked bags, a carry-on bag, and a seat reservation alongside airfares when they browse for tickets. The requirement is largely aimed at improving fliers’ ability to compare prices between carriers on travel Web sites like Kayak and Expedia. ‘The current system does not give consumers accurate pricing and does not allow comparative shopping,’ said Charlie Leocha, head of the Consumer Travel Alliance, a flier-advocacy group. ‘This new system will… So it is a dramatic change.'”
Within Nicas’ article was another interesting chart. Click the image for a larger version.