Where are the consumer watchdogs when you need them? How did this get so far without us knowing about it?
It appears, according to The Associated Press, that the U.S. House held a voice vote today to approve a bipartisan bill letting airline advertising emphasize the base price of their airfares. That's before taxes and fees are added.
Really? But aren't there federal regulations -- on the books for the past two years -- that have required airlines to most prominently feature the full price in their advertising --- including those fees?
So this new bill would roll back those regulations. Consumer groups are against the new legislation, saying not including taxes in the advertised price is misleading, according to the AP.
And guess which unions are backing the bill? The pilots' and flight attendants' unions say including taxes and fees in their advertised prices hurts business and hides from consumers the extra costs that government imposes on air travel.
Why can't consumers just get an apples-to-apples pricing from all airlines with the bottom-line price?
The only good news with this -- so far -- is that the U.S. Senate has yet to have a version of the bill.
I would seriously like to know how members of the House of Representatives pay for their travel costs.. Do they get special discounts? Do they just expense it? Do they get to fly first-class?
I just flew United Airlines down and back to my niece's college graduation at the end of May. From Cleveland to South Carolina turned from a one-stop, three and a half hour flight into a 12-hour nightmare that had our plane diverted to Richmond, Virginia to sit on the tarmac there for over 90 minutes at one point.
Odds are, figuring that the trip down had been horrendous, the trip back should have been easy, right? At the gate in Charleston, S.C. for the return, they said our plane had mechanical trouble and would not be arriving. When a replacement arrived, it would only fly to Chicago, not Dulles as planned. What? Didn't those pilots know the way to Washington, D.C.?
Then we switched planes in Chicago, only to be taken off the second plane because they had no pilots. No pilots?
We waited 3 hours for pilots -- I even began trolling the concourse for pilots, stopping anyone with wings to ask if they knew the way to Cleveland. (And yes, I was entertaining my fellow passengers sitting at the gate. Even the United desk clerk smiled and shook his head a few times. We were all bored silly and more than a bit angry.)
I guess they just want to make it harder for us to fly and get more money from us. After all, what is our alternative?
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