EU’s new rental car rules could be signpost for US

If you rent a car in Europe this summer, you might notice a few changes. Pay attention to them. They could be coming to America soon. Read more “EU’s new rental car rules could be signpost for US”

New DOT initiatives target airlines’ baggage fees and price transparency. Are they enough?

When the Transportation Department (DOT) announced new “enhanced” protections for air travelers last week, the reaction was predictable. Airlines complained loudly that they were being re-regulated. Consumer groups offered a collective eye-roll, grumbling that it wasn’t enough. And the government cheerfully congratulated itself. Read more “New DOT initiatives target airlines’ baggage fees and price transparency. Are they enough?”

Is this a completely lost cause?

When someone starts an email with “Is this a completely lost cause?” the answer is usually, “yes.”

Is this one of those cases? I’ll have the answer in a moment. Actually, you’ll have the answer.
Read more “Is this a completely lost cause?”

Warning! Not all premium seats are created equal

Airline seat pricing never made much sense to begin with, but leave it to United Airlines to take it to the next level.
Read more “Warning! Not all premium seats are created equal”

How to find hidden fees: 3 secrets no company wants you to know

Aaaron Amat/Shutterstock
Aaaron Amat/Shutterstock
“Gotcha” fees are everywhere, waiting for the right moment to pounce. Don’t believe me? Just ask Rich Grabowski, who recently tried to book an airline ticket for his Mediterranean cruise — a seemingly simple task.

But not really. The airline he chose, American, didn’t actually fly to Barcelona, but instead offered flights through a deceptive arrangement known as “codesharing.” That’s where an airline gets to pretend its flights are its own, but they actually belong to a different carrier.

And that someone else — the airline’s codesharing “partner” British Airways — had a little surprise for Grabowski and his wife: If they wanted to sit together, they’d have to shell out an extra $98 per ticket for his transatlantic flight. Or he could take his chances, and get a random seat assignment — the choice was entirely his.

“That’s a hidden fee,” he says. “It’s unearned money.”
Read more “How to find hidden fees: 3 secrets no company wants you to know”

The Insider: The ABCs of car rental pricing and fees

Editor’s Note: This is part three of our new “Insider” series on car rentals. Here’s the first installment and here’s the second one. By the way, if you see something I’ve missed in this post, please tell me in the comments or email me.

And now, a few words about car rental pricing and fees.

Both are a never-ending source of frustration to travelers. But they don’t have to be.

Read more “The Insider: The ABCs of car rental pricing and fees”

US Airways and United Airlines practice “discriminatory” pricing, study finds

US Airways and United Airlines practiced discriminatory pricing against disabled passengers, in apparent violation of federal law, a new study conducted by Towson University finds.

The research, conducted by Jonathan Lazar, a computer and information sciences professor, found both airlines routinely refused to waive fees for blind callers booking by phone, even after being made aware of the regulations.

The results will be published in the next edition of Government Information Quarterly.
Read more “US Airways and United Airlines practice “discriminatory” pricing, study finds”