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Airfares keep going up up up - Page 2

post #31 of 56

I just booked a RT on SW from Raleigh to Den for $265- this usually is less than 200 in previous years.  I can usually get non-stop or 1 stop flights on SW when heading out west, and it has been my carrier of choice for many years, especially with the fee for bags now.

post #32 of 56

We've been noticing an increase in airfares too.  This is the time of year we start shopping for all kinds of airfares and from what we've seen a lot of western fares are 25 - 50% higher than normal.  

 

There are exceptions, and certainly enough airlines fly into DEN and SLC you'll find them.  One interesting exception - Montana, particularly Bozeman,  is relatively inexpensive now compared to what it normally is.  

post #33 of 56

We subscribe to Southwest's email alert service. We fly Southwest (from LA) on tickets ranging from $30 (+$10 tax) to Reno or $90 to SLT or $120 to Denver.

 

One post complained about car rental and the cost. I say ski somewhere where there is an airport shuttle, like Reno which has airport shuttles to Squaw and Heavenly.

post #34 of 56

We subscribe to Southwest's email alert service. We fly Southwest (from LA) on tickets ranging from $30 (+$10 tax) to Reno or $90 to SLT or $120 to Denver.

 

One post complained about car rental and the cost. I say ski somewhere where there is an airport shuttle, like Reno which has airport shuttles to Squaw and Heavenly.

post #35 of 56

I've been checking Expedia regularly for a couple months for fares to Jackson Hole in mid January.  They haven't budged from $461 total since I started checking. 

post #36 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

SW Is the best. Free baggage is great, no BS with them. 


Subscribe to their newsletter for email alerts on sale fares. Last month the sale fare, for winter skiing, was $30 to Reno and SLT, and $90 to Denver and $120 to the east coast. Ski Bags and luggage are free (limits apply of course). Cancellation and rebooking with your refunded fare credit is free. No BS.

 

Avoid car rental by finding resorts that offer airport shuttles.

post #37 of 56

I've been having the same problem until the last week.  ATL-SLC $280 round trip on US Airways.  Delta has become ridiculous and most flights >$450 nonstop.  Shopping around the holidays has always been pretty good, this deal popped up the day before Thanksgiving.

post #38 of 56

Quote:

Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

I've been checking Expedia regularly for a couple months for fares to Jackson Hole in mid January.  They haven't budged from $461 total since I started checking. 


Fresno, huh?  Not the easiest place to fly from.  However, if you want to drive to Long Beach you can jump on Allegiant to Idaho Falls instead of Jackson.  A quick look shows roundtrip on Allegiant for the weekend of Feb 4-7th to be $54.    Idaho Falls is about 90 miles from Teton Village and you can drive it in around 2 hours.  Grand Targhee is even closer and Big Sky is even a possibility.

post #39 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by RISkier View Post

We've been looking at various destinations and have not been finding good airfare deals. Work schedules largely dictate when we can travel and I'm not finding hot Southwest deals to ski destinations when we can travel. I've been real keen on going to Banff. Lodging and lift ticket packages look decent, but so far the only airfares I've found have been very unattractive ($800+ from Providence to Calgary before adding baggage fees, and not that much better from Boston). Prices I've seen to Denver or SLC are also considerably higher than I've seen in the past. Hoping we can find some deals after the holidays.


Just booked Providence - SLC for $330 (including fees/taxes) round trip, on Southwest. Considering Delta's baggage fees, the $330 on Southwest is the equivalent of $250 on Delta if you bring a suitcase plus skis.

post #40 of 56

Just got back from a 2 week Summit/ Vail trip (using Colorado Pass)

Got my usual cheap fare. This time  BWI- DEN $212 round trip tax included. Southwest -no fee for skis/baggage etc.

You got to play with dates. Tue - Tue worked.

 

Next trip is 3 weeks inc Epic ski Gathering in April so I'll drive 1600mi each way.

post #41 of 56


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn View Post

Quote:

Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

I've been checking Expedia regularly for a couple months for fares to Jackson Hole in mid January.  They haven't budged from $461 total since I started checking. 


Fresno, huh?  Not the easiest place to fly from.  However, if you want to drive to Long Beach you can jump on Allegiant to Idaho Falls instead of Jackson.  A quick look shows roundtrip on Allegiant for the weekend of Feb 4-7th to be $54.    Idaho Falls is about 90 miles from Teton Village and you can drive it in around 2 hours.  Grand Targhee is even closer and Big Sky is even a possibility.


It is though.  We got United to LAX, San Fran, Denver and Vegas.  Delta to Salt Lake.  Horizon to Portland and Seattle.  Allegiant to Vegas.  US Air to Vegas and Phoenix.  And American to LAX and Dallas.  With combos like that, I can get anywhere.  But they still cost alot.

 

Turned out the loads were light on Delta, and I had no problem flying fro teh freebies via Salt Lake to Jackson and back.  +1 for travel benefits.

post #42 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post
I don't think he (or most people myself included) are upset at lack of disclosure, but the very questionable advertising of their price. If they advertise an airfare of lets say $599 and put a * saying taxes and fees extra, having $100 fee for one bag round trip and another $129 fee for changing your flight is unethical at best. I'm not upset that they're not telling me the fees, but the way they try and scam people out of money with advertising a significantly lower fare than the realistic lowest price--theres a difference between "fees" and a 30% markup on a price. 


 

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree here.  Just about everything you buy has a tax on it.  The vast majority of restaurants and other businesses advertise the pre-tax price.  Granted, there are more/higher taxes on airfare than on, say, dinner or a book or something.  Most sites like Orbitz, Kayak, etc. are moving towards listing airfares inclusive of taxes.  Also, most of these fees are not levied by the airline itself, they are levied by the gov't or the airport (landing fee, 9/11 security fee, etc.)  So it is incorrect to term it a "30% markup on a price".

 

As for the bag fees...I agree they may be high, but I don't think they should be zero.  If you and I fly on the same flight, and you bring more bags than I do, you're requiring more fuel, more labor from the bag tossers, etc. so why should I pay as much as you?

 

Change fee...I'll fully agree that the person on the phone isn't getting paid $150 to make the change.  But it goes deeper than that.  Someone had to write the computer software that he/she is using to make the change, or that you use to make the change yourself via the website.  We software people don't work cheap, and those who manage us certainly do not.  Adding the ability to change your flight via the website is a larger undertaking than it may seem - I would guess perhaps $250k of implementation cost (coders, manager, testers).  The airline is only going to add that feature if they think doing so will turn a profit within a year or two.  Not to mention, if you change from tomorrow's flight to next week's flight, that only gives the airline a day to try to sell your vacated seat to someone else, which may or may not happen.  Airline margins are, believe it or not, razor thin.  A few empty seats and the whole flight can be a money loser.  Have a look at some of the airlines' SEC filings - they generally lose millions and millions of dollars per quarter.  They can't really pay their people any less than they already are.  Fuel prices aren't going to go down any time soon.  So really the only options are to bring in more revenue, or stop flying.  And as I'm sure you know from econ 101, if a few airlines stop flying that would mean a reduction of supply but no change in demand, which would drive prices upwards.

 

(Full disclosure if it's not obvious already - I used to be a website programmer for an airline)

post #43 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by chase View Post




 

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree here.  Just about everything you buy has a tax on it.  The vast majority of restaurants and other businesses advertise the pre-tax price.  Granted, there are more/higher taxes on airfare than on, say, dinner or a book or something.  Most sites like Orbitz, Kayak, etc. are moving towards listing airfares inclusive of taxes.  Also, most of these fees are not levied by the airline itself, they are levied by the gov't or the airport (landing fee, 9/11 security fee, etc.)  So it is incorrect to term it a "30% markup on a price".

 

As for the bag fees...I agree they may be high, but I don't think they should be zero.  If you and I fly on the same flight, and you bring more bags than I do, you're requiring more fuel, more labor from the bag tossers, etc. so why should I pay as much as you?

 

Change fee...I'll fully agree that the person on the phone isn't getting paid $150 to make the change.  But it goes deeper than that.  Someone had to write the computer software that he/she is using to make the change, or that you use to make the change yourself via the website.  We software people don't work cheap, and those who manage us certainly do not.  Adding the ability to change your flight via the website is a larger undertaking than it may seem - I would guess perhaps $250k of implementation cost (coders, manager, testers).  The airline is only going to add that feature if they think doing so will turn a profit within a year or two.  Not to mention, if you change from tomorrow's flight to next week's flight, that only gives the airline a day to try to sell your vacated seat to someone else, which may or may not happen.  Airline margins are, believe it or not, razor thin.  A few empty seats and the whole flight can be a money loser.  Have a look at some of the airlines' SEC filings - they generally lose millions and millions of dollars per quarter.  They can't really pay their people any less than they already are.  Fuel prices aren't going to go down any time soon.  So really the only options are to bring in more revenue, or stop flying.  And as I'm sure you know from econ 101, if a few airlines stop flying that would mean a reduction of supply but no change in demand, which would drive prices upwards.

 

(Full disclosure if it's not obvious already - I used to be a website programmer for an airline)



If these fees are--as you insinuate--required to make a profit, why can an airline like Southwest not charge baggage or change fees and have a workable business model?

 

I'm not saying I even disagree with charging the fees, I was saying that if an airline is going to charge fees, they should be disclosed in advertising. Think of car commercials where they show a base price, but also show the actual cost of the model in the commercial because it would be unethical to advertise a car for $17k, but the one you are actually showing cost $23k. The same should apply to airlines, if they are advertising a fare, they should be required to put in the fine print exactly what taxes and fees they are charging.

post #44 of 56

Currently,  my biggest peeve against the major's is the priority security screening.   Now when you check in on line your bombarded with offers of extra leg room, red carpet club for a day and for $39, you can go through our priority security line.  But the TSA is a government agency, paid by the tax payers?  The TSA should not be a revenue stream for the airlines!

 

In Chicago's O'hare's terminal one, there used to be four security screening points. United closed one and turned two into priority.  Now everyone that is not in United's Elite program or hasn't paid extra,  has just one screening point and it's packed!  It's a huge conflict of interest!

post #45 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post
If these fees are--as you insinuate--required to make a profit, why can an airline like Southwest not charge baggage or change fees and have a workable business model?

 

I'm not saying I even disagree with charging the fees, I was saying that if an airline is going to charge fees, they should be disclosed in advertising. Think of car commercials where they show a base price, but also show the actual cost of the model in the commercial because it would be unethical to advertise a car for $17k, but the one you are actually showing cost $23k. The same should apply to airlines, if they are advertising a fare, they should be required to put in the fine print exactly what taxes and fees they are charging.


Southwest has done a lot of fuel hedging.  That's where they enter into a contract with a fuel supplier to lock in a certain rate (usually a little higher than the going rate) for a looooong time (years).  It's a gamble, but if fuel prices go up, it's a good one.  A decade or so ago, Southwest really kicked the other airlines' butts by being extremely smart/lucky in this area, but the hedges have pretty much run out by now.  Southwest employees are also not as unionized as at most other airlines.  Legacy airlines have/had pensions to pay, though that is changing.  Another factor is that Southwest only files 737s, so that reduces training expenses, crew/aircraft scheduling complications (because every pilot they have is certified to fly every plane they have...unlike at say American where if a 777 is sitting at the gate and an MD80 pilot is available, you're not going anywhere).  But, different aircraft types have different ranges and purposes - that just plain wouldn't work at an airline that flies both Chicago-Peoria and Chicago-Paris.  Then there's the small issue of Southwest having about $1B cash on hand, so if another airline started a route that SW flies and SW wanted to regain exclusivity, they could sell seats at a loss and then just wait for the other airline to back down.  I don't know anything about aircraft lease rates, but that could be a variable, who knows.  That was a big part of why the airline I worked for went bankrupt - we bought a lot of shiny new planes at high rates right before 9/11 and then couldn't make the payments.  I'm not at all trying to demonize Southwest.  Half the flying I've done in the past year has been on them.  I'm just saying that, on the whole, this is an industry that has been hemorrhaging money for decades, and sooner or later, something had to give.  Look at 80 years ago - air travel was only attainable by the wealthy.  Now people who even 20 years ago would have taken Greyhound are flying.  A round trip from NYC-Hawaii costs the same number of dollars as it did in the 60s, yet those dollars are worth way less now.  Therefore I just don't see why there's any reason for people to complain that flying is too expensive.  Businesses simply can't be expected to continue in their old ways, if their old ways weren't profitable.

 

You also said, "if they are advertising a fare, they should be required to put in the fine print exactly what taxes and fees they are charging."

They do.  And not just in the fine print.  I just searched on 4 sites for a roundtrip flight from NY to LA, departing 2/28 and returning 3/7.  Here is the wording they all use:

Delta: "$465.00 (carriage return) $486.40 Total Price"  When I clicked on this fare as though I wanted to buy it, the next page included "taxes/fees: $21.40" and when I clicked on "taxes/fees" it itemizes them.  (Edit:  I don't know why the previous line is showing up as a link.  I didn't mean for it to be)

Orbitz:  "$287 (carriage return) total $329".  Like Delta, when I clicked on it, it showed me a screen where it added up the base fare ($287.99), the taxes/fees ($41.31) and showed the total ($329.30).  But when I clicked on "taxes and fees", it didn't itemize the exact costs of the individual fees like Delta did.  Rather, it said this fee is 7.5%, that fee can be "up to" $18, etc.  I'll agree that they could stand to present this more precisely.

Southwest:  It said $494, then when I selected that flight, the next page showed $515.  But, very prominently.  It broke it down into "base fare" and "taxes and fees" and there is a little "?" next to "taxes and fees" that you can click on that specifies what the fees are and how much they are.

Kayak:  "$329".  This refers to the same flight that Orbitz is...it's just that on their main page they're not telling you the "before taxes" price at all, they're only telling you the final price you'll pay.

 

So...okay, if you want to consider the Southwest case to be sketchy, I won't disagree with you.  But the others seem very straightforward - as I said in a previous post, much more straightforward than, say, the bookstore where the price tag says $20.00 but I'm going to end up paying $21.40.  And certainly none of these sites say the total is $x and then charge you $y.  That of course would be criminal.

 

Though...you said "advertising" so maybe you meant flyers and such, not the ticket-booking pages of the website.  But in that case, they do the exact same thing as you described in the car commercials.

Example 1:  Go to http://travel.southwest.com/specialoffers and click on the Boston-Balitmore sale.  See how "Offer Information" is displayed rather prominently?

Example 2:  Go to http://www.united.com/ then click on "Special deals" in the dark blue bar at the top.  Now click on one of the deals (I clicked on the one for Grand Cayman).  "Additional taxes/fees" appears in bold text, in the middle of the page.

Can you show me an ad that *doesn't* mention these fees?

post #46 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by chase View Post

 

Though...you said "advertising" so maybe you meant flyers and such, not the ticket-booking pages of the website.  But in that case, they do the exact same thing as you described in the car commercials.

Example 1:  Go to http://travel.southwest.com/specialoffers and click on the Boston-Balitmore sale.  See how "Offer Information" is displayed rather prominently?

Example 2:  Go to http://www.united.com/ then click on "Special deals" in the dark blue bar at the top.  Now click on one of the deals (I clicked on the one for Grand Cayman).  "Additional taxes/fees" appears in bold text, in the middle of the page.

Can you show me an ad that *doesn't* mention these fees?


I was referring to commercials and flyers not the actual booking process. Obviously, as you said, it would be criminal to add other undisclosed fees. I was more talking about advertising one fee with the simple disclosure of "Taxes and fees extra". That is very vague when advertising. If there is a standard tax that is applied to all flights that should be included in the advertised price or at least disclosed what the tax is imo. I know what my state sales tax is, but can anyone name off the top of their head the taxes, let alone the rates, that are required to fly? I am just saying that advertising for airline fares is a bit shady in that it does not do a very good job in disclosing the actual cost (which can be said for more than just the airline industry too).

post #47 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

I was referring to commercials and flyers not the actual booking process. Obviously, as you said, it would be criminal to add other undisclosed fees. I was more talking about advertising one fee with the simple disclosure of "Taxes and fees extra". That is very vague when advertising. If there is a standard tax that is applied to all flights that should be included in the advertised price or at least disclosed what the tax is imo. I know what my state sales tax is, but can anyone name off the top of their head the taxes, let alone the rates, that are required to fly? I am just saying that advertising for airline fares is a bit shady in that it does not do a very good job in disclosing the actual cost (which can be said for more than just the airline industry too).



I had been waiting to reply until I saw an airline commercial or two on TV, but apparently I don't watch enough TV these days :)

Your point about the vagueness of "taxes and fees extra"...yes, I agree that would be wrong if that's how they're doing it.

post #48 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by chase View Post





I had been waiting to reply until I saw an airline commercial or two on TV, but apparently I don't watch enough TV these days :)

Your point about the vagueness of "taxes and fees extra"...yes, I agree that would be wrong if that's how they're doing it.

Apparently I am not the only one who feels airlines are being deceitful with their advertising. The Department of Transportation issued a slew of new regulations on airlines to combat the way that airlines hide the realistic cost of their flights. Article on CNN.
 

 

post #49 of 56

Well its not just skiing destinations that have gotten pricey.  I just checked on flights to Costa Rica.  i expected them to be expensive but I didn't expect $1000+ for a non-refundable coach ticket.  i thought maybe it was just the destination so I checked flights to Bonaire which is one I am familiar with.  They were $1100+ for the same time frame.  I know fuel prices have gone way up again but tickets to Bonaire are more than twice what I paid in 2009 when we were there last.

post #50 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by cstreu1026 View Post

Well its not just skiing destinations that have gotten pricey.  I just checked on flights to Costa Rica.  i expected them to be expensive but I didn't expect $1000+ for a non-refundable coach ticket.  i thought maybe it was just the destination so I checked flights to Bonaire which is one I am familiar with.  They were $1100+ for the same time frame.  I know fuel prices have gone way up again but tickets to Bonaire are more than twice what I paid in 2009 when we were there last.



You just have to shop around. I'm looking at flights to CR in October and it was $408 round trip incl. taxes. Flying Newark to San Jose via Miami. Granted it was on some budget airline, not AA but if your willing to make a few sacrifices you can still fly cheap.

post #51 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by cstreu1026 View Post

 tickets to Bonaire are more than twice what I paid in 2009 when we were there last.


 

Airlines didn't make money that year either.

post #52 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post





You just have to shop around. I'm looking at flights to CR in October and it was $408 round trip incl. taxes. Flying Newark to San Jose via Miami. Granted it was on some budget airline, not AA but if your willing to make a few sacrifices you can still fly cheap.


From this part of the country nothing is cheap.  Cincinnati is consistantly one of the most expensive airports to fly out of in the country.  The smaller airports like Dayton, Lousiville, Lexington, and Columbus can be cheaper but not always, esepcially for international flights.
 

 

post #53 of 56

March 2011 airfares are up 14% over 2010 and 10% over 2008,  when the airlines experienced their last big fuel spike. But fuel costs are only 1.5% higher than in 2008,  when Southwest's fuel hedging contracts allowed them to hold domestic fares down.  Now they all hedge and the higher fares are sticking, partially because SW doesn't have the additional revenue from baggage fees.

post #54 of 56

I have given up on flying unless it is overseas or on the other side of the U.S. I can drive anywhere, carry anything I want (bikes, skis and duffel bag), not be treated like a criminal or a sardine and have my own car when I get there. I leave when I want and arrive when I want, and even if gas is $5.00 a gallon it is still cheaper than flying.

 

 

With check-in hassles, and waiting, and restrictions, and 'fees', and penalties for changes, and on-ramp delays, and cost, and breach of privacy - is flying really a 'convenience' anymore?

 

 

 

 

 

post #55 of 56

Depends how far you need to go and whether or not you have to use vacation time to do so... so yes, flying is still a convenience.  But yes, it sucks big time.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwoof2 View Post

I have given up on flying unless it is overseas or on the other side of the U.S. I can drive anywhere, carry anything I want (bikes, skis and duffel bag), not be treated like a criminal or a sardine and have my own car when I get there. I leave when I want and arrive when I want, and even if gas is $5.00 a gallon it is still cheaper than flying.

 

 

With check-in hassles, and waiting, and restrictions, and 'fees', and penalties for changes, and on-ramp delays, and cost, and breach of privacy - is flying really a 'convenience' anymore?

 

 

 

 

 



 

post #56 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwoof2 View Post

I have given up on flying unless it is overseas or on the other side of the U.S. I can drive anywhere, carry anything I want (bikes, skis and duffel bag), not be treated like a criminal or a sardine and have my own car when I get there. I leave when I want and arrive when I want, and even if gas is $5.00 a gallon it is still cheaper than flying.

 

 

With check-in hassles, and waiting, and restrictions, and 'fees', and penalties for changes, and on-ramp delays, and cost, and breach of privacy - is flying really a 'convenience' anymore?

 

 

 

 

 


It can be. I'd much rather fly for non-recreational stuff than drive. If I want to go somewhere where I will be using my skis or bike or other large equipment then I'd prefer to drive. Anything over 14 hours I would much rather fly.
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