3 surprises lurking in your airfare — bet you don’t know what they are

By | January 7th, 2013

Joseph Hanus/Shutterstock
Joseph Hanus/Shutterstock

Your airline ticket isn’t what it seems to be.

I’m reminded of that whenever I hear from readers like Heidi Fox. Her husband tried to switch his United Airlines ticket from Chicago to Orlando to an earlier flight on the same day, and an airline representative assured him he’d only have to pay a $75 change fee.

But what the rep apparently didn’t say is that Fox’s husband would have to shell out a $744 fare difference, too.

“It was only after he received the emailed receipt that he was made aware of the $744 cost differential,” she says.

For the better part of the last decade, airfares have been a reliable source of consternation and confusion. And with good reason. Airlines have built a business model around charging so-called “ancillary” fees and surcharges, or just not revealing all the details about your flight itinerary because … well, because they could.

Some of the surprises are hiding in places you’re least likely to look for them, from items that used to be included in the fare, like the ability to reserve a seat or check a bag, to change fees, to hidden incentives by the folks selling you the ticket.

But 2013 may be the year we get answers.


The Transportation Department is expected to unveil a proposed rulemaking in May that would, for the first time, require airlines to tell their customers about these unexpected extras. Reading between the lines of the “Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections III” rulemaking, it’s interesting to see what the government thinks might be hiding in your airfare.

Related story:   Government to airlines: Put it in the contract!

It may not be on the airline you thought

If you’ve ever booked a ticket on one airline but ended up on another one, then you already know about the not-so-wonderful world of codesharing. The government is considering adding new disclosure requirements to airline tickets being sold online. Right now, for example, you can buy a ticket through Delta Air Lines’ website from Cleveland to Paris, and you might think you’re flying on Delta all the way — until you pay attention to the bottom of your screen. Your first flight isn’t on Delta, but on regional airline Pinnacle “doing business as” a Delta Connection; your second flight from New York to Paris is not on Delta, but codeshare partner Air France. No Delta at all. Blink, and you might miss this little fact.

Your fare may not have been the lowest available

When you pick up the phone to call a travel agent or log on to a popular online travel agency, you might not be getting the best fare for you. Instead, they may be giving you the best fare for them. The government is considering a new rule that would require ticket agents to disclose any incentive payments they receive in connection with the sale of air transportation. On a practical level, that would be a prominent “sponsored link” next to an advertised airfare. But it could also mean that your travel agent would have to disclose any hidden incentive, bonus or “override” received in connection with the purchase. That would be interesting.



  • AUSSIEtraveller

    be careful what u wish 4 !!!

    The more red tape you put int he way of business the more you’ll pay, simple

  • TonyA_says

    I am for as much disclosure that you can handle. There’s hell of a lot of information already out there and people are getting more confused. It’s expensive to talk and explain a lot of this to people. Someone will eventually have to pay. But what is really missing is good service. What good is all that disclosure if my seat is so cramped, my flights are delayed, my kid is not sitting beside me, and you’re not even gonna give me a sip of coke. Give me the above and I don’t really care much about your disclosures.

  • EdB

    I feel there needs to be more disclosure on some things but I worry about it getting to the point like you see TV ads with the microprint you can’t read or the high speed talker on radio ads to deal with these disclosures. For me, the only thing it does is warn you that you need to check somewhere else for the actual details.

    Hmmm… Find it interesting that one of the ads being displayed is for a 7 day cruise from Carnival with a price of $479*. Note the asterisk. Below it says Legal Restrictions Apply. I’m guessing this is advertisement lingo for “mandatory fees” that probably should be put in the price anyways.

  • $16635417

    With the myriad of ancillary and other optional fees, and the different fee each airline charges, it will be interesting to see how this will play out. Will a traveler need to determine how many bags he/she plans to check and carry on, if they want a premium seat with extra legroom, snack choice and number of times he/she plans to change and what the fare increase will be prior to searching?

  • TonyA_says

    You should see how much more we have to include in our email quotes to prospects who ask for price quotes. Most don’t even disclose to us if they will buy or are simply shopping around. This is getting pretty crazy already. Oh and the luggage thing for international. Well the DOT kinda overruled the most significant carrier rule of IATA. So, it is more confusing and people who fly from inland USA can actually get less baggage allowance to international destinations (unless they get an international codeshare and get more).

  • sirwired

    Asking airlines to please disclose the fees, prominently and in advance, that they are already going to charge you is hardly serious “red tape.” Now, if they were regulating the amount of the fees, that would be very different.

  • john4868

    When is the traveling public finally going to realize that flying has become a differentiated product? Yes, for a while, choosing an airline was a little bit like choosing which franchise location of Outback Steakhouse you were going to dine at. No matter which one you chose, the experience was going to be about the same, the menu is about the same and the only real difference is the price. Now, its more like choosing a steakhouse. Ponderosa, Outback & Ruth’s Chris, are all steakhouses but all three offer very different menus & experiences at very different price points. You need to not only shop for price but also the experiences and options you are looking for.

  • I find a lot of things on this site (especially the ads served by third parties like Google) to be very interesting, too. Ironic, even.

  • Thanks for this one CE!
    .

    On the plus side, Delta is buying out Pinnacle regional airline!
    .
    http://www.ajc.com/news/business/delta-to-buy-memphis-based-pinnacle/nTm8z/

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    so you’ll get pages & pages of fine print.
    I went to print out a virgin confirmation recently & it was 6 x A4 pages.
    As if anyone is going to read that.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    am flying to USA shortly & flying on 4 different airlines (Qantas, Alaska, American & Air Pacific) with different rules, esp luggage limits.
    What a pain in the butt !!!
    However you cannot mandate anything across international borders ( although US law inforcement think they are THE WORLD POLICE !!! )

  • TonyA_says

    If your flights are on ONE ticket, shouldn’t IATA resolution 302 (Most Significant Carrier) rule since your ticket was bought in Australia?

  • disqus_A6K3VBf8Zn

    Some didn’t read the article and will vote no on anything the government is to do.

  • $16635417

    Hmmm…a codeshare working to benefit the traveler? Who’d a thunk it!?

  • TonyA_says

    Here’s an explanation:
    When IATA Resolution 302 was made, the baggage provisions of the MOST SIGNIFICANT (operating) airline determined baggage allowance.
    So flights to (most of) Asia by Asian carriers from inland USA with INTERLINED domestic segments to international gateways had 2 free bags (even if the domestic allowance was only 1 bag at most).
    But when the new DOT (Passenger Protection) ruling came out, the DOT mandated that the FIRST carrier’s baggage rules applied to the whole trip.
    So for a trip on United via Chicago gateway and then to Asia on an Asian carrier, the baggage allowance became that of United’s – only one bag free (instead of the Asian carriers’ 2 bags free).
    In essence, the DOT’s new rule had a bad effect – REDUCING THE BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE of US INLAND interlined flights to ASIA (for ASIAN carriers).
    The way around it was to book a codeshare on an Asian carrier’s flight number (but operated by the US carrier). If you book the Asian carriers codeshare to Chicago (on UA metal for example), you get 2 FREE bags all the way since the Asian Carrier’s Baggage Allowance rules. Why? Because the first carrier was now the codeshare flight of the Asian airline (which had 2 free bags allowance).
    So there you go – you are better off baggage-wise to book a codeshare from an INLAND US city to ASIA.

  • y_p_w

    Several years ago (when I was still in college) I was flying back from from a trip by myself. I got to the gate early and noticed an earlier nonstop to the same destination was about to take off. So I ask the gate agent what my chances are to change flights. She tells me if I have my bags on me (I did) and I had two minutes to decide. Easy decision, although I had to deal with my ride later. No fees, no nothing. Just on the plane and I’m good to go.

    Of course that was the flight where my assigned seat was next to someone really, really obese. But that’s another topic that’s been done to death.

  • Daddydo

    Every single item in your article is “WRONG” by my agency! We always offer the lowest price and the most convenient schedule. Sometimes there is a huge difference and it becomes the client’s choice. We do not have preferred airlines, just customer satisfaction. Every single client knows luggage costs, carry-on costs, potential food costs before they depart. Any great ASTA travel agency does this because that is the justification of a small service charge. The airlines indeed are out of control, and since dear ole “Jimmie” deregulated them while being the Pres, things have gone downhill for the passengers. You cannot have cheap in today’s travel world, as they will get you one way or another: Just to name a few.

    Pillows

    Blankets

    Food

    Luggage, extra luggage, extra heavy luggage

    Wi-FI

    Early boarding

    Seat assignment

    Person to person booking fees

    Change fees – usually $70 – $250.00 PLUS any difference in the fare. This is a 500 page set of BS rules.

    To get back at my ranting, all of these items come into play when we make a reservation. How do I get free luggage? For $19.00, one airline will upgrade you and then luggage is free and I have a comfortable seat, early boarding, and a free drink. Wow, luggage cost me $25.00 and my travel agent did better….I love my real live ASTA travel agent.

  • tio2girl

    Easier said than done. I live in a small town with a small airport. Unless I’m willing and able to drive 5 hrs to a bigger airport, and sometimes I am but it’s not always a viable option, I am stuck with the airlines and prices that are dished out. Even when I do drive 5 hrs to a bigger airport, the options are still limited because my destinations are usually smaller airports. I find that only people who are flying from big airport to big airport have those steakhouse options. The rest of us are left eating at the Sizzler.

  • emanon256

    I miss the days of free standby. I still don’t understand why they charge for standby now, when it actually helps the airline because it fill unsold seats, and gives more opportunity to sell later seats.

  • emanon256

    What airline offers $19 upgrades?

  • drbubbles

    Hearing these lines in Les Misérables yesterday put me very much in mind of hotels and airlines:

    Reasonable charges
    Plus some little extras on the side!
    Charge ’em for the lice, extra for the mice
    Two percent for looking in the mirror twice
    Here a little slice, there a little cut
    Three percent for sleeping with the window shut
    When it comes to fixing prices
    There are a lot of tricks he knows
    How it all increases, all them bits and pieces
    Jesus! It’s amazing how it grows!

  • flutiefan

    i couldn’t vote. No, the public doesn’t know enough about their tickets but No, i don’t want the government to get involved.

  • TonyA_says

    Maybe Delta’s lowest economy comfort introductory fee $19 per segment. But even ASTA travel agents could not book that.

  • Michael__K

    What’s needed is not just disclosure, but well-presented and EASY TO UNDERSTAND disclosure.

    35 page CoC’s and 100+ page tarrif rules are disclosures of sorts but it’s not realistic to expect every passenger to read and digest all that material — for every single one of the half dozen or more airlines that appears in their flight search results.

    I would be nice if during the shopping process, one could easily highlight and compare the differences between itineraries other than price (including seat pitch, baggage fees, change restrictions, change fees, change fee waiver criteria etc.) on a 1 or 2 page chart. Like you would compare dishwasher models :)

    Unfortunately, unless OTA’s start to see something like that as a competitive value-add that can help their bottom line, I don’t see such disclosure forthcoming without a regulatory mandate.

    The carriers don’t mind the status quo because better-educated passengers would be better at plotting to avoid ancillary fees and that would push revenue from those fees down.

  • emanon256

    It doesn’t say anything about free bags in Economy Comfort on DLs website. That’s still pretty cheap, is that only from a high fare?

  • TonyA_says

    Maybe he paid with a delta credit card and he is a medalion (elite). Lots of maybes :-) but I wish I could upgrade for 19 bucks. I think the $19 economy comfort are for very short segments.

  • emanon256

    The wife and I were looking at flying to Florida in March. We found 2 airlines that had decent schedules, United and Delta. Delta was a lot cheaper, but we also wanted to fly with more leg room and need to check bags. I get free checked bags and free economy + on United. Delta had all of the costs of baggage and economy comfort disclosed, so I did the math. Even though Delta was $10 cheaper, it would have actually cost us over $200 more total after the fees. I was shocked as to hoe much the fees add up. Fortunately, they were easy to find before booking.

  • TonyA_says

    In other words it pays being elite on UA. You saved at least $ 200 for 2 people.
    Couldn’t you just get the whole ticket on MP rewards? Or is it blocked (No Availability)?

  • bodega3

    For the OP who made a change to his itinerary, when you change the outbound of your ticket, you basically start all over again in the pricing plus pay a change fee. Nothing new in this with UA and it is in the rule of the fare….which is the DIY’ers responsiblilty to read.
    As for codeshares, you can tell if it is a code share by the flight number. Again, nothing new there either.
    What also isn’t new, it that DIY’ers think they know what they are doing but really don’t!

  • bodega3

    A good start would to be to rules of the fare and to make note of them so if you do need to make a change, you aren’t caught unaware as this OP was.

  • bodega3

    You aren’t stuck, you are making a decision on where you wish to fly into and out of. I have had to make those same decisions, but then, you do that for any purchase.

  • emanon256

    Saves $200 for 2 people on UA, and saves $300 over Delta, and that’s just 1-way.

    Actually, its a convoluted booking, you would appreciate it. I could not find saver awards in either direction, only full price awards and 50,000 miles R/T per person in coach is a waste in my opinion.

    Flights were relatively cheap going there, and expensive comping back. DL was $99 pp O/W and UA was about $190. Returns ran in the $400-500 range per person. So I paid cash for the outbound, and used full price O/W awards for the return (25,000 miles per person). I personally think $380 + 50,000 miles was the best value when the other options were 100,000 miles or $1,200 cash.

  • bodega3

    Actually when it comes to a through fare, there are rules that help you over buying those tickets separately. Each country does have their own air regulations that must be followed

  • tio2girl

    Yes, I have to choose between driving to my final destination – not a viable option – and flying. I think that your definition of options and mine are not the same.

  • bodega3

    Chris, the information you say your reader want is available. A question to ask is, how many remember what they read or bother to read and either write it down or print it out so they can reference it later? If you book online, the rules of the fare are available BEFORE you purchase your ticket. Many times here posters have said, ‘who reads that’? Whose fault is it then when they say there are caught unaware?

  • $16635417

    Sticking to steakhouses, only Outback is an option for me…about 30 minutes away. Everything else is a good 90+ minutes away. If steakhouse choice were a factor in my life, I would not choose to live where I do.

    If airline choice was a concern to me I would also live somewhere else. I can also drive 4-5 hours and choose to go almost anywhere in the world…or take a commuter carrier from the airport closest to my home. I choose not to live in a large city anymore, so I am content with the limited choices.

  • bodega3

    No your definition means convenience. My last trip east, I got a better deal that required me to drive 4 hours. I had a choice, just like you do. You can shop at the next door convenience store, which costs more for items, or drive a bit to the best grocery store. Another choice.
    I sell airline tickets. We offer prices for 6 airports, one being a 4 hour drive.

  • bodega3

    That is your problem. This isn’t new. I have been selling airline ticket for 3 decades and before the internet, for international tickets, there were volumes of books that had to be referenced.

  • Alan Gore

    I have always wondered about that myself. At one time I commuted Phoenix-Burbank for full working days, a route on which WN had hourly service at the time. I would always book my return for the busiest early evening return time, to account for worst-case LA traffic. Usually I would be ready at Burbank in time for the second or even third hourly flight before my sceduled departure, and could easily get a standby seat at those low-traffic times of the day. I flew on mostly empty flights, at the same time freeing up a busy-time seat that could then be resold at a premium.

    One day, even Southwest stopped doing free standby. If I arrived early I had to watch empty flights departing without me so the bean-counters could use their silly rule to actually cost the airline more money.

  • Alan Gore

    I love the smell of irony in the morning!

    There was an article on this very topic a few weeks ago: US passengers who took a series of flights, destination Australia, on codeshared airlines found that when they arrived in Los Angeles for the Qantas long-haul, that Qantas unilaterally decided to ignore ITATA 302 and impose a tiny carry-on size limit of its own. Apparently all the connecting passengers got shaken down for ruinous extra fees after having been told that the baggage rules of the first airline in the series would apply.

  • y_p_w

    I’ve driven from the San Francisco Bay Area to LAX when we got a flight for free (long story). Even around here some people will fly out of Sacramento (about two hours in no traffic) if they can get a better fare.

    I still don’t know about steakhouses. I think of it more like hotels. A lot of the experience with airlines depends on the personnel. Hotels have different personnel and some hotels under the same brand bring totally different experiences. Steakhouses are often too homogenous.

  • judyserienagy

    I’ve had to change non-ref tix several times, if the agent didn’t quote the new fare that was now applicable, the passenger needs to ASK. Everything that’s done over the phone, in person or on the internet needs to be verified by the PURCHASER.

  • bodega3

    Since I am in the SF bay area, too, we quote SFO, OAK, SJC, SMF, RNO and STS. LAX is another one that is looked at for international since SF has less options.

  • john4868

    I live at a hub … Well Cincinnati used to be a hub pre DL/NW merger. I know that DL stopped it here because people used to purchase the cheapest fare they could find and then attempt to standby on the earlier, more expensive flights when they actually wanted to fly. DL’s view at the time was that people would pay for the higher fare if flying standby for free was no longer an option. Interestingly, it seemed to work.

  • emanon256

    I could not agree more on all counts!

    Also, why would anyone agree to a change without asking for the new total? In fact. I have called to change many times, and never not been told the new total. I’ve also never had a code share flight that didn’t very clearly disclose “Operated by…” on every reference to the flight.

  • oldft

    Great! Should be on YouTube!

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    on frequent flyer tickets nothing is clear.
    Alaska don’t have an office in Australia (only some general sales agent). American’s phone number is answered by a 3rd party call centre in Suva Fiji called mind pearl, who will tell you the earth is flat if that makes you happy.
    Many baggage rules are written by lawyers who can’t or don’t want to speak english.
    Very badly written rules, which are often ambiguous & contradictory.

    Baggage is becoming a major issue as legacy airlines seek ways to survive.
    Qantas International may not survive.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    Complication is that Qantas owns 100% of Jetstar (know in OZ as Junkstar) which now flies HNL/SYD & HNL/MEL nonstop.
    Being an LCC they charge for everything.
    Air Pacific (Qantas owns around 46%, Fiji govt owns approx 50.1% for traffic rights reasons they must control over 50%).
    So you could be on a Qantas flight number form USA to OZ but on Jetstar or Air Pacific.
    Qantas Int checked baggage limit in economy/ocach is up to 2 pieces with max 23kgs each. AIr Pacific is 23kgs total, but you can have many pieces if no more than 23kgs total. Jetstars is 0 kgs on cheapest tickets.
    When you combine carriers it gets messy & airline staff don’t know what to say or do or charge or not.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    not my problem, but it will be US travellers problem if they insist on having all the rules & charges attached to every transaction.
    6 pages could easily turn into 20 pages with 8 point font size.
    Part of problem is IATA. Low cost carriers make everything so simple, however low cost carriers are taking over some low yield routes. Eg. Qantas is giving lots of routes to Jetstar.
    Interestingly, Qantas has just returned to SYD/OOL (Gold Coast – very much like HNL) which they abandoned a few years ago.
    Jetstar, Virgin, Tiger & Qantasnow fly SYD/OOL, so although this actual route is low yield for high cost Qantas, they are now looking at feed to international services out of SYD.
    The thing Qantas don’t get is people don’t want to fly via Sydney, as it’s a bloody awful airport to have to chnage terminals at.
    Because of congestion at SYD, you also need to add 60-90 minutes more than minimum connecting time at SYD.
    Air NZ have twigged to this & now you can fly
    OOL/AKL/LAX-SFO-YVR, with no need to change airport terminals.

  • bodega3

    If it a through fare, the over the water carrier rules apply. If you break the fare then you have different rules for each carrier. Pretty clear actually.

  • bodega3

    Frequent flier tickets are a different ball game in many ways.
    Are you using miles for serveral tickets?

  • bodega3

    Nothing has changed Aussie. There have always been rules attached to each and every fare, one way or roundtrip. All countries have them. Now that you have access to them online, you are seeing what those of us in the biz have been seeing for decades. Nothing new.

  • $25394585

    I hate flying and now try to avoid it at all cost.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    that’s just it … it should be clear BUT IT’S NOT !!!
    We know Qantas baggage limits, but Qantas says to call Alaska, American, Air Pacific, which is hopeless.
    If they are selling each others tickets, then they should have it all sorted out & they definitely don’t.
    Moral of the story is be nice to chekc in staff. They cope a lot of abuse.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    yes.
    Here’s itinerary
    BNE/SYD/HNL QF
    HNL/SAN AS
    LAX/EGE/LAX AA
    LAX/NAN/BNE FJ
    all using Qantas ff points.
    Hate when airline staff say something to the effect, oh you’re on free tickets. Nothing free about having to spend AUD$250K to get FREE tickets, which still must pay taxes/charges on, esp when QF taxes/charges are horrendous (eg. taxes on SYD/LAX/SYD are almost AUD$900/adult inc massive fuel surcharge)

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    but it’s getting worse with legacys who aren’t making any money, looking at LCC’s & ULCC’s who charge for everything except air, toilets, stairs … making profits that legacies can only dream of.

  • y_p_w

    Found an interesting article on free standby. Part of it mentions free same-day standby, where some airlines still offer it to frequent fliers. I found that Alaska Airlines still offers free same-day standby for anyone flying between Portland/Seattle or Seattle/Spokane.

    Standby travel: Not for the faint of heart
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/24/travel/standby-travel/index.html

    The other part was about “nonrevenue” passengers – either buddy passes or families of airline employees. I’ve done that a few times, and it got to be interesting. However, mine were only international and I didn’t deal with the hotels or other stuff. I got to know how it paid to be nice to the agent at the check-in counter. We also picked travel days that we knew would be lightly traveled. I do understand that with domestic travel it can get interesting having people becoming belligerent about whether they’re going to be able to board on a buddy pass. One of the regulars here even commented on this article about being very selective with buddy passes, lest someone rude to the gate agent gets the employee in trouble.

  • As much as I am against government intervention for all the minutiae in life, I do feel this is one instance where we, the consumer, are powerless to change anything and the government has to step in.

    Sadly, we live in a world where dishonest business practices and subterfuge geared towards “screw the consumer” is commonplace. The airlines, one industry that specializes in “screw the consumer”, is taking us all for a ride, both literally and figuratively, and we’re stuck in the middle of it all.

    I recently started giving Greyhound a hard look. While it might take longer to get to where I need to go, I’ll be getting there for a whole lot less (being military, we pay a flat rate to anywhere Greyhound goes, $236), more comfortably (they started retro-fitting their buses, removing a couple of rows to spread the rest out for more leg and reclining room), free wi-fi, electrical outlets on each row of seats to plug in your electronics and I don’t have to deal with being sexually violated every time I travel. They make stops for dining three times a day and I’ll feel more refreshed at the end of the trip. I can also rent a car on the other end and all of it will cost less and with much less hassle.

    The airlines are taking advantage of the people’s desire for immediate gratification and we’re letting them do it. Me, I’m voting with my feet.

  • bodega3

    I you have 4 separate tickets, then this is easy. You just go to each airlines website and see what their baggage policy is. Easy as you don’t have a through ticket if you have 4 different reservations.

  • bodega3

    They aren’t sell ticket, but using miles on those carriers. If you have four tickets, then just look the baggage information up on line. What might I be missing on this that is confusing you?

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    all on one ticket, so airline that issues should be able to tell you clearly when you can carry without being told to bend over + other complication is stopover time.
    If under 24 hour stop, then different rules apply, than if having a stopover over 24 hours.

  • bodega3

    But you know all this BEFORE you buy the ticket, so what’s the issue? Don’t fly the low cost carriers if you don’t like their rules especially if you have other options.
    Look it, there has always been fare rules and now that you can be a DIY’er, you have the responsibility to know what you are buying if you handle it solo. If you don’t like this, use a local travel agency so they can assist you and make it easier.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    no, the problem is when you get eg. a Qantas ticket on Junkstar & the Qantas baggage rules apply but some 3rd party check in person doesn’t know the rules.
    Qantas now does not handle of lot of check in at Australian airport. It goes out to the lowest tender I think & Menzies Aviation Services does it for many of Qantas flights now & there staff are on a fraction of what qantas staff were on & they are not very well trained or they have to deal with lots of different airlines passengers everyday.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    when you have pages & pages of lawyer english (illiterate) that often says refer to other airline, who knows what to do.

  • MarkieA

    Which one is Ruth’s Chris? I guess maybe Singapore Air? There seems to be a whole lotta Ponderosas and not too may Ruth’s Chrises.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    no it says refer to other carrier.
    What does that mean ?
    Call them (that’s useless, as quoting what someone said is menaingless), look up their website, which often covers their own frequent flyer tickets, but not those issued by other carriers.

  • bodega3

    Are you stopping over in any of these connecting cities? Your routing isn’t a normal routing for miles, so I am guessing you are using a lot of miles for this, hence the need to worry about the baggage fees. If you are flying coach, then what just go to each website and look up the fees. You are allowed one checked piece of one price domestically and usually a second checked piece is a few dollar more. Max weight is 50lbs per bag. Your carry on with AS and AA will need to be smaller than if your flight from SYD is a 777 or a 747. When it comes to using miles, most ticketing carriers will tell you to check with the partner airlines.

  • bodega3

    What do you want to know? Your carry on and checked luggage for ff tickets are the same as for paid tickets, so not understanding your confusion.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    stopping in some.
    We’re allowed 2 x 23kgs each on Qantas, 23kgs total each on Air Pacific, but Alaska & American are mysteries.
    (FYI QF have very few fights to Hawaii with their onw metal these days & the oens they do have are on very old 767’s. Qantas has no 777’s)

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    no baggage limits are clear on paid tickets, but not on ff tickets when multilple carriers are used.

  • TonyA_says

    This is SO SIMPLE.

    Since this is in ONE TICKET then assume Qantas issued it.

    Based on IATA 302 and DOT Baggage Rules, you get 2 bags 50 lbs max each ALL THE WAY INCLUDING THE STOPOVERS.

    *** EDIT: See below post for itinerary including VAIL, CO ***

    Print the QF ticket with the baggage allowance and show it to all desk agents. Tell them you are invoking IATA 302 and US DOT Baggage Rules together with QF (Qantas) Baggage Allowance for QF coded international flights. http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/us-baggage-allowance-and-fees/us/en

    1*QF5815 BNESYD 1155A 230P/O $ E
    *OPERATED BY JETSTAR AIRWAYS — JQ815
    2*QF 283 SYDHNL 600P 645A/X $ E
    *OPERATED BY JETSTAR AIRWAYS — JQ3
    3 AS 860 HNLSAN 1250P 825P/O $ E
    4*QF3838 LAXNAN 1030P 515A#2/O $ E
    *OPERATED BY AIR PACIFIC LTD — FJ811
    5*QF 348 NANBNE 840P 1040P/X $ E
    *OPERATED BY AIR PACIFIC LTD — FJ923

    BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE
    ADT
    QF BNESAN 2PC
    BAG 1 – NO FEE UPTO50LB/23KG AND UPTO62LI/158LCM
    BAG 2 – NO FEE UPTO50LB/23KG AND UPTO62LI/158LCM
    CARRY ON- CARRY ON DATA NOT AVAILABLE

    QF LAXBNE 2PC
    BAG 1 – NO FEE UPTO50LB/23KG AND UPTO62LI/158LCM
    BAG 2 – NO FEE UPTO50LB/23KG AND UPTO62LI/158LCM
    CARRY ON- CARRY ON DATA NOT AVAILABLE

  • TonyA_says

    And the carry on on QF coded flights should be 45in and 7kgs.
    You will get away with more than 7kgs on AS and AA segments because they don’t care as much as QF does.

  • TonyA_says

    Peter Luger is Singapore/Qatar/Cathay Pacific.

  • TonyA_says

    Sorry I printed the itin w.o. Vail. Here is the correct one:
    You get 2 bags all segments!

    1*QF5815 BNESYD 1155A 230P/O $ E
    2*QF 283 SYDHNL 600P 645A/X $ E
    3 AS 860 HNLSAN 1250P 825P/O $ E
    4 AA2264 LAXEGE 515P 830P/O $ E
    5 AA2095 EGELAX 635P 750P/O $ E
    6*QF3838 LAXNAN 1030P 515A#2/O $ E
    7*QF 348 NANBNE 840P 1040P/X $ E

    BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE
    ADT
    QF BNEEGE 2PC
    BAG 1 – NO FEE UPTO50LB/23KG AND UPTO62LI/158LCM
    BAG 2 – NO FEE UPTO50LB/23KG AND UPTO62LI/158LCM
    CARRY ON- CARRY ON DATA NOT AVAILABLE

    QF EGEBNE 2PC
    BAG 1 – NO FEE UPTO50LB/23KG AND UPTO62LI/158LCM
    BAG 2 – NO FEE UPTO50LB/23KG AND UPTO62LI/158LCM
    CARRY ON- CARRY ON DATA NOT AVAILABLE

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    spoke to 3 people at Qantas who all said, we’d probably have to pay on Alaska & American.

  • TonyA_says

    They are not correct. The DOT rule (for flight to/from USA) requires the SAME BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE JOURNEY of the FIRST CARRIER. Since your first (MARKETING) carrier is Qantas (QF) then their baggage allowance applies throughout your journey. WARNING: I am assuming all your flights are on ONE TICKET (issued by Qantas)as you wrote here somewhere

    If Chris Elliott is reading this, this is an example where CODESHARE gives the passenger MAXIMUM advantage.
    None of the QF coded flights are on Qantas metal but the pax still got Qantas baggage allowance BY US LAW.

  • TonyA_says

    There are still parts of the world where you can fly with dignity. Try flying to Japan. We did it for the Xmas holidays and loved it. Even if all the seats were sold out, there was no rush, no oversized carry ons, no shouting, no pushing, no touching/no scanners by Japanese airport security (very helpful also). Very courteous people.

  • bodega3

    Tony, when I have tried to use miles to Europe and intra Europe flights, both for clients and myself, the intra Europe flights, when broken by a layover, had different luggage rules. He is flying into SAN then LAX to EGE. I would be interesting in seeing dates (give phoney ones if you want, but same layover schedule) to get a clearer idea. If this is considered a through ticket, then yes, the over the water carrier’s rules apply.

  • TonyA_says

    Bodega, as I had written earlier there is a conflict between IATA 302 and DOT Pax Protection Baggage Rules. No matter, DOT trumps everything for as long as the JOURNEY is from/to USA. Many International carriers do not undertstand or do not want to understand the DOT rule. They are stuck with the segment oriented IATA 302 resolution. However Alaska and Americans are US carriers and have no excuse not knowing DOT rules.

    ADDED: Just to be clear. Stopovers affect IATA 302 determinations. Whereas they do not affect DOT Baggage carrier determination. So with IATA 302 the most significant carrier MSC is determined based on where the bag is checked, and where it is picked up. There could be multiple MSCs for one journey, based on baggage checked portions. With the DOT, there is only one “MSC” for the whole entire itinerary or journey, the first carrier. If that is a codeshare, then it is the marketing carrier. The DOT does not care how many stopovers you do or how many time you check in or claim your luggage. Only one allowance for the whole darn trip.

  • TonyA_says

    The above itinerary has stopovers in HNL, SAN, and EGE. The GDS correctly applied the DOT BAGGAGE RULE, not IATA 302 for outside USA.

  • bodega3

    I am sure we are boring others, but this is just not clear enough for me to agree on the type of ticket this is considered. With all the new ruling regarding interline bags not on a through fared ticket, I just don’t know how to judge this mileage ticket with that routing. Flying into SAN, then out of LAX? How is that not two tickets with using miles? Something just doesn’t add up for me.

  • TonyA_says

    The itinerary is completely legit for a revenue ticket as I was able to autoprice it.
    Interestingly it is also possible using miles on Qantas and Partner Classis Awards.
    The AA segments are easy since it is a oneworld partner.
    Jetstar and Air Pacific are International partners and also a no brainer since the flights themselves are QF codeshares.
    Finally, Alaska (AS) is also a Qantas International partner.
    See http://www.qantas.com.au/fflyer/dyn/program/usingPoints/flight

    Multi-destination Itineraries

    The number of points you need for a Qantas & Partner Classic Award flight is calculated by adding up the one-way trips in your itinerary. There are no points charges for stopovers or for any non-flown (surface) segments. Your itinerary may have no more than 16 flights or surface segments. However, if the total distance of a single trip is over 15,000 miles, the trip must be broken down into sub-trips in order to calculate the number of points you need.

    Very doable. AussieTraveller is coming to America with two free bags each per the rules of the US DOT.

  • Miami510

    There are a lot of undisclosed charges… that is until they are on your bill.
    .
    Story: My wife and I were planning a trip on which she had sufficient points for a free ticket. I had an insufficient number of points in my account and my wife was discussing a combination of using my points, her lending me some point from her account and buying some points to meet the requisite number.
    ,
    There was a fee for transfering the points from her account to mine. In addition to the per point charge, there was an additional transaction fee.
    .
    At that point, my wife realized that she would have additional points on a forthcoming trip and wouldn’t need the transfer. The agent told her there would be an additional two charges to return the points from my account to hers, since this was just done. This was all in the same telephone conversation.
    .
    We were so annoyed by this, we decided to leave the points where they were, use them for flights for our children, and we’re going to fly another airline.

  • bodega3

    This has been policy for most frequent flyer programs for a long, long time. At one time British Airways allowed the combining of points, for no fee, but I believe they changed that policy.

  • TonyA_says

    What did they fail to disclose to you?
    – that there is a point transfer fee to another member?
    – that there is a point redeposit fee?
    I suppose all this is written in the membership rulebook.

  • Miami510

    I’m sure that somewhere beyone the link that says, “I agree with the terms and conditions,” which is necessary to click on to enter a program, and some phrase that says the company has the right to change the terms and conditions at their sole disgression, I would find those charges. I am complaining about the basic unfairness of a business transaction involving the airline’s BEST customers… those that have been sufficiently loyal to accumulate points towards transportation. It is towards us that their shabby treatment is directed…and while I’m on the subject of shabby dealings, there is the moving of the goal posts for an international flight. It use to be 60,000 miles. Now it is 72,000 miles for most flights. For 60,000 they put another catagory: 60,000 will only qualify a passenger for a 6:30 AM flight that makes two or three flights before going overseas, thereby adding six hours more to the total flight. There is also the expiration of miles accumulated if not used in a time period.

    We still have our vote… the one with our feet !

  • flutiefan

    that was probably me! buddy pass riders can be absolute nightmares, and i am leery to give mine out to anyone, lest they too lose their minds when they get bumped off a flight.
    that old adage is true: you never really know someone until you travel with them.

  • Lindabator

    Unfortunately, the legal requirements are what force these CoC and tariff rules so difficult to read – more regulations will just make more legalese!

  • Lindabator

    NO free bags – but on some shorter flights, its only $19 to upgrade each seat.

  • Lindabator

    Yep – they are!

  • Michael__K

    What would you remove from the existing disclosures that would make them easier to understand? Do you mind being specific?

    Do you also think the federal truth-in-lending requirements (like standard, mandatory one page summaries) make loans HARDER to understand?

    Do you also think that FTC Energy Star labeling requirements for appliances make it HARDER to compare energy usage between appliances?

  • TonyA_says

    AGREE !!! Adding more (BS) words to a lot of other existing words mean nothing except more confusion. Why does the DOT think passengers even READ or UNDERSTAND all the so-called disclosures today? The real goal must be to keep things SIMPLE.

  • TonyA_says

    I’ll give you one example. Look at my posts explain the difference between the (new) DOT Baggage Rules and the accepted worldwide (standard) IATA Reso 302.
    Even airlines and travel agents cannot figure out what to do.

  • Michael__K

    How is that germane to what I’m talking about?

    If the DOT rescinded every baggage rule its ever issued, precisely what would change in the airline contract language that would make them easier to understand?

    You also didn’t answer my questions: Do you think the mandatory one-page truth-in-lending disclosures are a bad idea? Do you think Energy Star labeling requirements are a bad idea? That’s the sort of disclosure I’m talking about.

  • TonyA_says

    Each carrier has an easy to understand baggage rule. Correct?
    If you combine two or more carriers in one journey, one ticket, whose baggage rules apply? According to the DOT only the first carrier’s rule should. According to IATA the most significant carrier’s apply for each journey constituted by a complete stop.
    So which carrier is suppose to figure out what? The rules can make soething simple become more complex.

  • Michael__K

    This is a side issue that is completely distinct and separate from whether or not to adopt uniform, concise disclosure standards like I’m suggesting.

    Why are you replying to my comments if you want to ignore my questions and talk about something else? Feel free to start other comment threads.

    [And no, I don’t necessarily agree that “each carrier has an easy to understand baggage rule” but, again, that’s also a separate topic]

  • bodega3

    As of now, the only DOT baggage regulation I am aware of is the one that carriers have to advise the cost. What do you think is DOT regulated?
    The disclosure of fare rules are already there as are the baggage rules and meal service when we issue a ticket. What disclosure are your asking about?

  • Guest

    Read the first comment and you’ll know what disclosure I’m asking about. I assume your other questions are for TonyA, because I didn’t bring up the DOT.

  • bodega3

    If you’ll notice it is for Michael_K.

  • Michael__K

    Sorry, I can’t vouch for TonyA’s claim about “the (new) DOT Baggage Rules” and I’m not the one suggesting that DOT regulations are the reason why disclosures are so hard to understand.

  • Nathan Witt

    The only reason for the airlines to object to telling you, upfront, how much it will cost you to travel on a given route and what, if anything, their extra charges are is that they hope you buy a cheap ticket without researching and are then forced to pay the additional fees against your will. If airlines are set on having a base-price-plus-options model for their services, it’s not hard for them to clearly disclose that by, for instance, asking you to prepay for checked luggage or meals at the time you buy your ticket. They just don’t want to.

  • Wackiedon

    Talk about fee disclosure take a look at these on a Caribbean Airlines quote from JFK to Kingston Jamaica

    Code Description Adult Fees = USD 173.08

    AY USA: September 11th Security Fee USD 2.50
    US USA: Transportation Tax – Domestic USD 34.40
    XA USA: APHIS User Fee USD 5.00
    XF USA: Passenger Facility Charges USD 4.50
    XY USA: Immigration User Fee USD 7.00
    YC USA: Customs User Fee USD 5.50
    EK Jamaica: Passenger Service & Security Fee USD 13.68
    EL Jamaica: Airport Improvement Fee USD 10.00
    HG Jamaica: Tourism Enhancement Fee USD 20.00
    JT Jamaica: Passenger Facility Charge USD 3.00
    QK Jamaica: Airline Passenger Levy USD 20.00
    UC Jamaica: Passenger Aviation Service Charge USD 8.00
    WD Jamaica: Travel Tax USD 19.50
    YQ Airline Insurance Service Fee USD 20.00

    Actual Air Fare for JFK to KIN return = $268.00
    How does your fare compare? Total 441.08

  • TonyA_says

    looks like a complete listing to me. this is what should be printed in your eticket receipt.