Why your next airline ticket purchase should be like buying a car

When Loren Witkin says that he shopped around for a new car, you can take him at his word. Witkin combed through his local newspaper, consulted the Kelley Blue Book and clicked on several auto-buying Web sites. Finally, he stumbled upon, a service that offered something no one else could: an upfront price on […]

The “Simple” World of Airline Booking Pre-2008

I am in Montreal, presenting to the largest gathering of airline lawyers in the world. These are the top lawyers at the airlines and some of the top aviation lobbyists. As recently as the mid-1990s, before the use of the Internet to book air travel became widespread, consumers faced significant challenges in attempting to determine […]

When Congressmen swallow bald-faced airline lies, consumers lose

Today, ignominiously, the entire House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the Orwellian-named Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 under suspension of rules and with no consumer input or any debate on its merits. Worse, the vote is scheduled on “fly-in day,” when representatives are returning from weekend meetings with constituents. The bill is step […]

Congress wants to remove regulations that protect you from deceptive airline ticket advertising. Don’t let it.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee recently passed a markup of “The Airfare Transparency Act of 2014” out of committee. (That means it is ready to go before the entire House to be voted on to become law.) This legislation that repeals a contentious regulation that was carefully taken through the rulemaking process, supported by […]

Representatives who should know better drink airline "price transparency Kool-Aid"

Yesterday, an anti-consumer bill about airline pricing was marked up by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Amazingly, the bill was introduced with bipartisan backing from some of the Democrats’ supposedly top consumer-friendly legislators. The bipartisan cabal of representatives added a most Orwellian name to the bill, “The Airfare Transparency Act of 2014.” This bill […]

Will new bill let airlines hide ticket prices?

  At best, the proposed Transparent Airfares Act of 2014, a bipartisan bill introduced this month in Congress, would open a window into the many taxes and mandatory fees attached to your airline ticket — charges that the airline industry believes you should know about. At worst, the proposed law would give airlines a license […]

Releasing fee data to travel agents will help consumers and the economy

At a forum in Washington, DC, in the Rayburn House Office Building, consumers squared off against the airlines regarding airfare and airline fee transparency. Basically, consumers asked to be informed of how much the entire air travel package will cost at every point where the airlines choose to sell airline tickets. Consumers want to be able to compare prices across airlines including optional fees such as baggage and seat-reservation fees.

The great airline fee grab

The domestic airline industry as a whole is in the process of re-imagining its business model, moving away from one in which the price of a ticket covers the basic cost of air transportation to one in which optional fees account for much of its profits.