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Author Topic: Advertised Price = Final Price
stilesbn
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I just bought a hotel on Priceline. It was advertised at $80. I just got one night. At the check out $20 in taxes and fees were added.

I was once told by an Australian that the tag price was required by law to be the final price. Can we make this a thing in the US? Because that would be really great.

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scifibum
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Yeah, Priceline isn't exactly trying hard to make sure you know about the extra fees up front.

I'd probably vote for that rule.

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BlackBlade
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I'm totally for knowing exactly what the final price is.
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DustinDopps
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It would be even better for airfare. My parents paid to have our two oldest kids fly down to visit in August. When we got to the airport and checked them in, we suddenly had $270 in fees to pay for unaccompanied minors and carry-on bags. Stupid.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by DustinDopps:
It would be even better for airfare. My parents paid to have our two oldest kids fly down to visit in August. When we got to the airport and checked them in, we suddenly had $270 in fees to pay for unaccompanied minors and carry-on bags. Stupid.

This is largely the result of airlines competing on price in a world where their listed ticket prices are easily compared, and the lowest bidder is always selected.

We as consumers have demanded a lower ticket price, and airlines have responded by stripping away things that cost money so they can drive ticket prices down. So now we gripe that we have to pay to check our optional baggage. We're the ones actually driving that behavior.

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Kwea
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Bull.

Airline pricing has been a shell game from the first. It doesn't cost them any more to fly me at the last second than it does a month in advance, but they can charge x 200 the original price even though the place is half empty?


They want you to think it's your fault, but it's just more of the same old crap they always pulled.

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TomDavidson
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It's worth noting that for a brief period airlines WERE required by law to tell you the actual cost of the ticket, but spent an enormous amount of money on lobbyists and direct campaign donations over the last two years to get that law rolled back just a few months ago.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
Bull.

Airline pricing has been a shell game from the first. It doesn't cost them any more to fly me at the last second than it does a month in advance, but they can charge x 200 the original price even though the place is half empty?

It does cost them more money though. People not booking in advance creates uncertainty as to how many people they will be shuttling on an airplane. That airplane has to take off if only one passenger gets in. Airlines then cannot determine where to best deploy their planes, and what routes are the most profitable. All of that costs money, and a lot.

If airlines let people just walk on for the same price as a person booking in advance, *everybody* would do it. It wouldn't work as a business model.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwea:
Bull.

Airline pricing has been a shell game from the first. It doesn't cost them any more to fly me at the last second than it does a month in advance, but they can charge x 200 the original price even though the place is half full.

Not *exactly*, but more or less. In fact, they do use the advance purchases to secure credit, which they front for options in oil futures, which they then use to average out the cost of fuel, so that they don't have to pay full price when the market for fuel is higher.

However, some airlines a few years ago (I don't remember which ones), also started trading oil futures they didn't own, using credit for flights that had not been flown yet, which had some nasty consequences when, for example, the volcano in Iceland erupted and several airlines couldn't fly for several weeks. They were suddenly holding options for which their credit had evaporated.

You know, because that's something you want your airline to be doing with your ticket money before you fly.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
It does cost them more money though. People not booking in advance creates uncertainty as to how many people they will be shuttling on an airplane. That airplane has to take off if Only one passenger gets in.
.

Well no. It's much cheaper to offer passengers incentives to bump to another flight. No airplane flies with only one passenger unless, for some reason of insanely poor planning, the plane has to be somewhere else in a hurry. It's not like the airlines have some iron duty to fly every route, every time it's scheduled. Flights get cancelled and shuffled all the time.

quote:
If airlines let people just walk on for the same price as a person booking in advance, *everybody* would do it. It wouldn't work as a business model
But not for the reasons you mentioned. It's in fact relatively easy to take regional flights at the last minute, and often for *less* than advanced booking, if the route isn't booked to a certain level, and the date is approaching. If you don't mind when you fly, you can get great deals. But most people mind.

The airlines calculate their fees based on the profitability of the individual flight, but also the profitability of the route. If it is more profitable in the long term to fly, for example, a 6 day a week route between Paris and Moscow, even if the Wednesday and Saturday flights lose money, the airline will absorb the loss on certain flights to preserve the integrity of the route. You don't want to lose Monday business travelers because you don't have a return flight operating Wednesday, for example. That also means that Wednesday flights can be dirt cheap.

This is much more common in Europe though. Lots of people commute weekly from city to city, so midweek flights have to be available, but can be almost empty. I once payed, I think 100 Euros to fly Air France to Paris from Prague and back on a Wednesday to Wednesday round trip. That route is normally about 5-6 times that price. I bought the ticket two days before takeoff.

Point being, you're not saving money most of the time when you book way in advance. The airlines like to make you think so, but you're really paying for the privilege of knowing you'll have a seat on the flight. Often routes are actually priced higher way ahead of the flight to *discourage* advanced booking, because the airline wants to keep the route available for people booking a few weeks ahead, particularly for business travelers. Customer lifetime value is more important than individual ticket prices. They'd rather their customers could get tickets on their flights 2 weeks before, than sell those tickets 6 months in advance for less.

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BlackBlade
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Orincoro:
quote:
No airplane flies with only one passenger unless, for some reason of insanely poor planning,

This is exactly what has happened on many airlines for years. There have been airplanes that took off because some of the *crew* flying for free, wanted to get from point A to point B.
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Orincoro
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Sure, I'm not contesting that it happens occasionally. Sometimes the plane has to be somewhere else. But not a lot of airlines let a plane go all the way to the flight day, totally unhooked, then fly the route anyway. There are better options.
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Geraine
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I believe it is Spirit Airlines that posts all of their fees and taxes right up front on their website, so when you book your ticket, you know exactly what you are paying, before you click the "buy" button. This includes any baggage fees.

I just wish Spirit was a bigger airline.

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