Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Theory Of Relativity: Fuel Surcharges Then and Now

Back in 2008, when prices of oil and jet fuel soared to an all-time high, airlines scrambled to increase their "fuel surcharge" for international flights. At that time, the peak price of oil was $146.

The surcharges back in 2008 pale compared to the surcharges of 2011 which are now averaging $420 per ticket for European flights. Relative to today's oil price of about $112 for WTI crude, the airlines' surcharge is a whopping 50% higher than it was in 2008. Fuel surcharge has become another tool for airlines and it does not often show up in fare comparisons.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

St. Louis Lambert Limps Back

St. Louis Airport operated at near 70% capacity on Sunday after a devastating tornado made a direct hit causing substantial damage to facilities around the airport.

It is expected that most flights would operate z normal schedule by mid-week. Passengers would be well advised to check the status of their flights for delays and cancellations.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rare win for Travelers-Airlines Must Pay Up for Bumped Passengers

Airline passengers will see increased compensation for denied boarding from oversold flights. Additional consumer-friendly measures will also be implemented this summer.

Scheduled to be unveiled Wednesday, the rules drafted by the U.S. Department of Transportation also mandate an end to hidden fees tacked on to ticket prices and expand other passenger protections. Carriers must pay if they lose a suitcase after charging passengers checked-baggage fees.

Among the more consumer-friendly provisions, customers who reserve a flight at least one week before departure will be able to lock in the quoted airfare without payment for at least 24 hours after the reservation is made. They also can cancel a reservation within at least 24 hours without incurring a penalty.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Distribution Wars: More to Come

Battle lines are forming that could decide the way airline tickets, services and ancillary fees are distributed in the future.

The key players, aside from the airlines, are the Global Distribution Systems (GDS), Online travel companies, and travel management companies. All are jokeying for position to shape the future of travel distribution.

Multi-billion dollars of revenues are at stake, and one thing is for sure, changes are coming.

American Airlines has just filed legal action against Orbitz and parent Travelport alleging that Travelport and Orbitz have worked together and with others to exclude competition and maintain Travelport’s “monopoly power".

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Feeling Lucky? Google Travel!

The Justice Department gave the greenlight to Google to acquire ITA Software, the travel search engine, for $700 million dollars.

But regulators imposed a host of restrictions on Google, saying the deal as initially proposed would have violated antitrust law by giving the world's leading search engine "the means and incentive ... to foreclose or disadvantage" its rivals, such as Orbitz, Expedia, Kayak and Microsoft's Bing. Those companies use ITA's software to power their airfare travel searches.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Airlines Try To Raise Fares for the 10TH Time in 2011

In baseball analogy, airlines are batting .600...
That's because they made 10 attempts in 2011, including one this week, to raise fares. The increase held up 6 times because all the carriers that need to match did.

Four times however, there were key airlines that were not quite ready, and when this happens, carriers that implemented fare increases, roll them back for fear of market share loss.

With the price of jet fuel going exponentially higher, and airlines not having the correct hedging strategies, the costs are increasing dramatically, and passengers are feeling the sting of the high fuel surcharges and fare increases.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Air Fatigue: Today's Flying Experience

Road warriors, or should we say air warriors are experiencing some fatigue and outright irritation at things that have compounded to make the flying experience difficult, even for the battle hardened.

Here's some of the "irritants":

1) Longer lines at security
2) Intrusive, inconsistent and ever changing variations of security "requirements"
3) Overcrowded "VIP" lounges
4) Too many "high status" travelers competing for fewer upgrades
5) Less legroom and personal space
6) Nickeling and diming for every conceivable service
7) Delays delays delays
8) Completely full flights
9) Less and less choices

Add high fares and taxes to the mix and it becomes easy to realize that while travelers have learned to expect to pay more for less, they are approaching the point where they are fed up.