Sunday musings: Sesame Street on flight attendants, voting with our wallets, deceptive travel pricing


Sesame Street takes a look at flight attendants (above); Spirit Airline’s profits soar on ancillary fees that customers hate, but pay; and ways that travel providers are sneaking in new costs and different prices to jack up the costs of travel.

Spirit Airlines doubles 2Q net profit

It seems we as a flying nation are not putting our money where our mouths are. We complain about Spirit Airlines and find the airline denigrated in the media, passengers keep filling their planes and their profits just doubled. What’s up? Are we a nation of masochists? Or, are we so desperate for a deal we’ll take it without adding up all of the extras? Go figure.

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based low-cost carrier (LCC) Spirit Airlines (NK) more than doubled a $16.9 million net profit in the 2011 June quarter with $34.6 million in net income for this year’s second quarter.

The fast-growing airline increased second-quarter revenue by 25.5 percent to $346.3 million while expenses rose 20.9 percent to $291.2 million, producing an operating profit of $55.1 million, up 57.7 percent year-over-year. Quarterly traffic heightened 16.8 percent to 4.59 billion RPMs on a 17.1 percent lift in capacity to 5.42 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 84.8 percent, down 0.2 point.

The 5 price traps airlines set for flyers

Joe Brancatelli reveals ways that travel companies are sneaking in extra charges and costs for travel, from Delta caught serving up different prices for the same ticket to different business travelers to code share price differentials, and from Orbitz showing more expensive hotels to shoppers using Macintosh computers than PCs, to airfare rules that confuse even airline experts.

Fees and the ghost of surcharges yet to come are the easiest part of a business traveler’s financial equation. It’s the gimmicks you don’t know about that can hurt you and run up the final price of a business trip. Airlines, hotels, and third-party online-travel agencies are masters of the secret price bump, the unseen and unexpected add-on and, lately, shameless and sophisticated computerized biases that target you for extra costs.

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  • Johnp

    My dealings with Orbitz ended after I booked a hotel in Madrid with Orbitz only to find that when I arrived the hotel informed me the price to book the room was exactly 100 per cent less than Orbitz. When I faxed, phoned, emailed Orbitz on several occasions I got only one reply and it stated “only important to you.” End of story. Orbitz has a mind set that is not consumer caring nor will it care until it loses potential customers. My recommendation, beware, but better yet assure yourself of professional, fair and immediate help by booking through American Express or it’s equal. J.

  • Anonymous

    You got a room for $0 from the hotel? Methinks a leg was being pulled.

  • Frank

    How cute, Sesame Street and a flight attendant. How appropriate that the first comment is a COMPLAINT. LOL. Nothing like teaching children about reality and flying and complaining. I, now, have those small children who grew up in the early 90’s, questioning my authority onboard as twenty year olds. Why? They watched their parents do it growing up. yep, apparently, being on this earth for twenty years makes you an expert in aviation. shaking head.