Full fare advertising

Today was the first day airlines and travel agents had to include government taxes and fees into the advertised price of air travel.  There is a mixed reaction about this change, from customers to actual airlines.

Before this change, airlines would display the base price and you wouldn’t really get to see the final price until you were ready to buy.  For a multi-segment flight, trying to figure out what these taxes really were was a bit of a challenge.  International travel would result in a pretty hefty cost being tacked on!  Now the consumer can, without much effort, truly pick the lowest price, with taxes and fees included.  A lazy consumer’s delight!

Sure, some people are against the taxes being hidden in the pricing.  Just like gasoline, some will pick the lowest price and just pay it.  They won’t take the time to understand who takes what part of the price they pay.  This may allow taxes to increase silently and airlines incorrectly blamed for charging more when they aren’t.  Does that really matter?  Not really.  There is an added cost to a lot of things we buy.  Airline tickets, gasoline, and electronics (waste disposal fees) are just a few.  Sometimes these are broken down for the consumer, and sometimes they aren’t.

If it’s all hidden, does that mean you won’t know when one part increases their cost?  Probably not.  If the government gets too carried away with taxes, which are still clearly stated in the final screen when purchasing tickets, consumers will hear about it.  Just like gasoline prices, we know when the price hits $4, and there are some unhappy drivers.  Airlines not happy with these additional cost being added to their careful planned pricing will be sure to cry wolf.

When I choose what airline I fly, I usually have two things in mind.  Cheapest price and best timing (length of flight and arrival/departure).  When I’m looking for the cheapest ticket, I really don’t care the base pricing and all the taxes that are included.  Either way, I’m going to have to pay more than the advertised price.  So let’s make it simple and give me the total price.  I might be considered a lazy consumer, but saving every cent still counts.  I don’t care what percent each hand gets, except I hope it’s as little as possible.

Perhaps I’m too eager to support this, but advertising hasn’t always been kind to me.  All those really cheap airfare and cruise deals advertised in the countless emails have never been possible to replicate.  Maybe it’s me, but I have a feeling it isn’t.  Recently I saw a $159 advertised price (highly doubt taxes were included in that) for a flight.  I thought what the heck, let’s see if it was possible to reproduce.  They even stated the date in in fine print, along with a disclaimer it might not be available.  It turned into an over $300 price tag.  I knew all along it wasn’t going to happen.

So I’m all for the truth.  Start me off with the true price, however much it is really is.  If I don’t like it, game over, I’m looking elsewhere.  Please keep the breakdown of taxes and fees, along with any other parts there may be.  I’m still interested in seeing who gets what share of it.  Being honest and transparent can win you a lot of respect.