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Are Airlines Shaming Travelers Into Paying More?
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The good news is now is a great time to find cheap travel options, be they cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, or cheap vacation packages.
The bad news is that some airlines are offering what appear to be really cheap ticket prices and then are hard selling at checkout extras such as better seats, extra legroom and early boarding privileges to ensure access to overhead bin storage.
Some fliers complain that Delta Air Lines, as well as Spirit airlines and several other carriers are attempting to shame travelers into paying more. Airlines contend that they are simply being informative about the limited amenities associated with certain fares.
Delta points out that “Basic Economy fares are still fairly new to our customers. Delta’s goal is to ensure passengers have the transparency of the products they are purchasing.” Spirit similarly claims that it is very transparent about what its low ticket prices provide and what they do not.
Some travelers take exception with what has been called “hate-selling seats” as evidenced by Delta’s description of the restrictions of its Basic economy fares on its website which include:
• Last to board and last to access bin space.
• No seat assignments until after check-in
• No refunds
• No ticket changes
Given that Delta gets 65 percent upsell to higher fares from people who start to reserve Basic Economy tickets, the airline clearly benefits.
While Delta could make the message about its Basic Economy fares friendlier and warmer in tone, the airline is making it super clear what its customers will not get when buying their low priced very restrictive fares.
Travelers can best protect themselves against airfare up-selling by doing the following, according to Harriet Baskas:
• Do not assume that the super low ticket prices being offered are all-inclusive. First read the ticket rules and restrictions carefully.
• Before purchasing a ticket at what appears to be a great price, consider which amenities and services, such as extra legroom, early boarding, and/or a checked bag, you are willing to pay more for and which you are content to do without.
• Check out ticket prices from multiple airlines and patronize those that provide better service. Complain to the Department of Transportation and your congressional representatives if you are unhappy or offended by an airline’s marketing practices. They are the only entities that can stop airline abuse.
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