Airfare riddle: same flight, different prices

During the merger machinations of US Airways and American Airlines, there are plenty of price differences for the same flight between the two parts of the same airline. Of course, there is some fine line that separates these airlines as they merge, but it is a line that requires consumers to be vigilant about checking prices on both the US Airways site and the AA site.

My summer DCA-MAD flight that I booked on US Airways planes through AA.com cost me $836 but would have cost me around $1,350 if I had booked the same flight on the same day using USAirways.com. That’s $500 difference! The lesson here is check both websites and check other websites for competitive flights.

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’ website, but only $298 on AA.com.

This savings opportunity is a reminder for consumers that such pricing disparities exist every day around the world on code-sharing flights…A spot-check of 240 different American and US Airways trips in May and June found one price offered by American and a different by US Airways 56 percent of the time. In most cases, the airline that actually flew the trip had the lower price, but sometimes a cheaper price was available by booking through the other carrier.

Southwest Airlines is sticking to its “No-fee” promise

Though there has been much speculation about whether or not Southwest Airlines will impose baggage fees this year, its annual meeting underscored the fact that Southwest has no such plans.

Kelly [the Southwest Airlines CEO] acknowledged that raising fees can translate to lower airfares for consumers, but he noted that Southwest already offers the low fares and outperforms other airlines that charge more and higher fees.

“Customers don’t like to be nickled and dimed,” he said. “The last thing we want to do is surprise a customer with a gotcha charge.”

In addition, Southwest research has shown that if it charged bag fees, the defection rate would exceed revenue growth by about $1 billion.

Bill would prohibit lawmakers from flying first class on taxpayers’ dime

A bill was introduced by four House members that would prevent members of Congress from flying first-class.

Barrow [Democrat Representative from Georgia] said members of Congress who are concerned about fiscal responsibility should support the bill. “It’s not enough to give lip service to cutting wasteful spending — we should set a good example, and not spending other people’s money on first-class travel is a good place to start.”

The bill’s backers also took issue with lawmakers having fewer restrictions on travel costs than American troops. “If our men and women in uniform are restricted from buying first-class airfare, the same should apply to Congress,” Ruiz [Democrat Representative from California] said.

Similar to the provisions in the House bill, Barrow this year requested that the House Appropriations Committee insert language in the 2015 spending bill to bar federal funds from going toward first-class airfare for lawmakers.