fare

It’s been five short years since the airline industry, led by an ailing American Airlines, quietly stripped the ability to check your first bag at no extra cost from the price of an airline ticket — an act given the antiseptic name “unbundling.”

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When it comes to air travel, there’s a growing rift between informed and uninformed passengers. Common sense tells you it shouldn’t be a problem. But spend a little bit of time studying the rules, and you’d know it is. Ah, rules. They’re dense, cryptic, wrapped in legalese. But they do not apply to all customers.

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The domestic airline industry as a whole is in the process of re-imagining its business model, moving away from one in which the price of a ticket covers the basic cost of air transportation to one in which optional fees account for much of its profits.

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Here’s a question I’ve been getting a lot since the beginning of the year: Are the current round of airfare hikes justified?

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Terry Capps finds a $28 a night room rate at a Westin hotel in Orlando. Turns out the hotel made a mistake, and that the real price is $289 a night. What now? Should the resort honor the original price or can it change the rate and force Capps to pay?

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As promised, British Airways has begun sending make-good offers to passengers who were affected by last weekend’s fare error. The airline is issuing a $300 voucher off any published retail World Traveller fare from the US to India booked between now and Nov. 12.

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Turns out passengers are upset about rising luggage fees — and more.

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Forget press releases. Continental Airlines decided to circumvent the entire mass media when it came to announcing fare class changes for its frequent fliers, and instead posted the news to an online bulletin board.

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Here’s an idea that’s truly brilliant this time of year. Era Aviation, which flies only in Alaska, offers special airfares with a twist. In order to get the bargain fare, you have to bring a turkey or a ham to the check-in counter. The turkeys and hams are donated to local food banks in the community where they’re received.

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Andy Daniel thought he had found a terrific airfare from San Francisco to Miami for Christmas. Instead, he found a terrific disappointment. When Daniel tried to book a $400 ticket advertised on Expedia, the price suddenly more than doubled.

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