New rules for airline fees are a partial victory for travelers

If airfares confuse you as much as they confuse me, then I have some good news: Several new rules are going to make it easier to calculate the total cost of a ticket.

Maybe.

Starting Jan. 26, a new U.S. Transportation Department rule will require airlines to include all taxes and fees in their advertised fares. Other provisions of the rule — banning post-purchase price increases and allowing passengers to hold certain reservations without payment or to cancel them without penalty for 24 hours after booking — will take effect Jan. 24.
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Hey, where did this resort fee come from?

Question: I checked into the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, and was unexpectedly charged a resort fee. I had booked the stay with my Starwood Preferred Guest points.

The desk staff could not have been less helpful when I questioned the fee. They advised, “It is mandatory on all rooms, whether paid with cash or points, and clearly indicated during booking.”

They also said the resort fee was required by Florida state law.
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No compensation for Alitalia bird ingestion

Paul DiFeterici’s recent Alitalia flight from Miami to Rome was delayed by seven hours. “We were given a paper with information to contact Alitalia customer relations for compensation,” he says. He tried calling and writing to the airline, but no luck.

“I haven’t heard from them,” he says. “Would you be able to help me contact the correct people?”
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Amazon offers fastest holiday purchase refunds, study says

The returning of gifts is almost as time-honored a tradition as Christmas itself.

Merchants are quick to take your cash, but they sure take their time with a refund — unless you’re doing business with Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, or LLBean.com. They were the three fastest online retailers, according to a new study by StellaService, issuing refunds within about four days.

The slowest? That would be Dell.com, which took two weeks, and Avon.com, which still hasn’t returned Stella’s purchase (naughty, naughty!).
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Airline passengers go to war over bin space

If mentioning the word “overhead bin” doesn’t raise your blood pressure, maybe you haven’t flown recently.

But John Masters has. On a recent AirTran Airways flight, the Wichita, Kan., legal assistant noticed that the airline made every effort to persuade passengers to check their bags. Many refused.

One air traveler seated near him then laid claim to an overhead compartment that’s meant to store carry-ons for four passengers.
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Are Air Berlin’s luggage scales a “scam”?

Luggage fees are a quick and relatively easy way for an airline to make money, but the European discount airlines have turned it into an artform.

If your carry-on tips the scale a few grams over the limit, the price of your air transportation can routinely double, thanks to their punitive and arbitrary baggage surcharges.

Nicholas Dominick recently found himself on the wrong side of that scheme when he flew from Venice to Münster, Germany, via Berlin on Air Berlin. Knowing the airline’s strict luggage policies, he’d weighed his luggage and it added up to a total of 40 kilos.
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