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U.S. Congressional Action to Change How Airfares are Advertised.

U.S. Congressional Action to Change How Airfares are Advertised.

Old Apr 16, 14, 10:12 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Calchas View Post
What's the political purpose of the bill?
I believe this bill originated from the airline industry, so the politicians backing it are pandering to the airline lobbyists and related organizations that will be funding their next campaign.

I can see why the airlines want to split up the costs - it allows them to advertise lower fares. And I'd even agree that it's fine for gov't taxes and fees to be excluded, since those are predictable as flat fees or a percentage of fare. However, as long as fuel surcharges are carrier-imposed, that allows them to be opaque about what the actual cost of the ticket is.

Unlike gov't taxes and fees, we can't simply say our total cost will be (FARE + X% taxes + $5.00 TSA fee), we have to try to decipher (FARE + X% taxes + $5 TSA + some unknown YQ/YR amount). Much less straightforward and harder for consumers to compare.

Does anyone smarter than me have a take on how likely it is that this thing will actually make it through Congress?

ETA: I actually don't know if the interpretation of the bill would or would not require the inclusion of fuel surcharges in the base fare. I'm just saying that if it does not, then this appears to be a horrible idea from a consumer perspective.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 11:05 am
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Since we don't get to choose whether to pay the extra taxes etc. I am not sure why this is even being discussed by our congress critters. What a total waste of time.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 11:13 am
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by Calchas View Post
What's the political purpose of the bill?
That would be twofold. (1) To increase its sponsors' conservative bona fides: they can run campaign ads bragging that they fought to make "government" taxes (is there any other kind?) more visible, and (2) to pay back campaign donors from the airline industry.

I don't think this bill has any purpose other than a political one, as I can't imagine it passing in our current Congress.

Actual consumers price air travel by its total cost. Those who want to know the taxes can find them clearly listed on their receipts.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 11:16 am
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Originally Posted by Calchas View Post
What's the political purpose of the bill?
It's to help ULCCs engage in effectively deceptive advertising, by putting "$1!" fares in big huge type and "$100 per carry-on bag" in very small type. It's the opposite of transparency. The bill has heavy support from Spirit and Frontier.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 11:28 am
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The average passenger doesn't care what makes up the price, only what the price will be to get on the plane and get where they're going (and come back).

This is just a political movement to return to the times when airlines can advertise their cheap fare to draw you in.

I hope this fails big time. I also hope someone in Government puts up a bill to force airlines to include the fuel charge as part of the ticket. It's not like it's an option, and again, it's not like ANYONE cares how much of your ticket goes on fuel. I'd actually like to see if the airlines are charging us an appropriately accurate $ amount per the actual amount of fuel you'd burn if you go on board...
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Old Apr 16, 14, 11:30 am
  #21  
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
It's to help ULCCs engage in effectively deceptive advertising, by putting "$1!" fares in big huge type and "$100 per carry-on bag" in very small type. It's the opposite of transparency. The bill has heavy support from Spirit and Frontier.
Spirit shouldn't even have an operating certificate, let alone the ability to advertise so deceptively.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 11:40 am
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Spoddy View Post
The average passenger doesn't care what makes up the price, only what the price will be to get on the plane and get where they're going (and come back).

This is just a political movement to return to the times when airlines can advertise their cheap fare to draw you in.

I hope this fails big time. I also hope someone in Government puts up a bill to force airlines to include the fuel charge as part of the ticket. It's not like it's an option, and again, it's not like ANYONE cares how much of your ticket goes on fuel. I'd actually like to see if the airlines are charging us an appropriately accurate $ amount per the actual amount of fuel you'd burn if you go on board...
Agreed.

I can't say that I really care whether the fuel surcharges are "accurate" or not, either. Fuel is a part of the operating cost that the airline bears for that flight. It doesn't need to be broken out from the "base fare" - DL just needs to price their base fares appropriately to cover all the operating and overhead costs associated with getting me from A to B.

The fuel surcharge thing is like if I went to the store and was told that the base price for an apple is 10 cents, but oh by the way add 60 cents in fertilizer, harvesting, and washing surcharges. That's BS - the apple costs 70 cents, which includes all the work and supplies that went into growing and harvesting the thing.

Heck - even in one of the other most opaque pricing models we have, cars are priced with a base price, plus options (leather, sunroof = E+ seats, BoB food), plus taxes. But they don't further split the base price into a "base" and a "metal surcharge". It's assumed that the pieces that make up the basic vehicle are included.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 11:53 am
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Wow, I was so bamboozled by the title of this bill...I can't believe it turns out to be the opposite of what it purports to be. Not intentional, I'm sure.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 12:00 pm
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The bill, believe it or not, has a good chance to at least pass the House. The bill is sponsored by the chair of transportation committee. It currently has 26 cosponsors, about equally split between Dems and GOPs.



This is a 'advertisement' from the transportation committee. What a bunch of bull. The actual COST to the consumer IS $300. It is just that the AIRLINE receives revenue of $237.

govtrack.us predicts it has a chance of 70% to be enacted. All three Network carriers and Southwest/Frontier/Spirit support this. Disgusting.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr4156

Last edited by saaws; Apr 16, 14 at 12:06 pm
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Old Apr 16, 14, 12:04 pm
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Originally Posted by KevinDTW View Post
Wow, I was so bamboozled by the title of this bill...I can't believe it turns out to be the opposite of what it purports to be. Not intentional, I'm sure.
Completely disagree there. This is nothing to do with being transparent. At the longest stretch it's for the airlines to start petitioning against so many taxes.

The politician(s) who put this forward know exactly what they wrote and why.

SAAWS - could you reduce that image size please?
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Old Apr 16, 14, 12:11 pm
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Originally Posted by USHPNWDLUA View Post
FWIW, I read it differently.


The bill defines that it isn't deceptive to separate government taxes from 'base airfare' and then defines 'base airfare' to be everything that is in the ticket price but is not a government imposed tax or fee. However, all costs need to be clear.

I think the airlines have been pushing for this for a long time. They don't like that consumers get the false impression, under the current requirements, that the costs is completely under the control of the airlines. I would be ok with the change- just as I find it a little bothersome to be reminded of the portion of each gallon of gas I pump that is government taxes, it is a good thing to know. I think the airlines just want to be able to make that clear to consumers and today, under current rules, they can't do that easily.
so you don't mind going to Chevron with Techron with the sign showing Supreme 93 for $3.49 but when you tap the button it shows tax-included actual price for $3.99? But if you went to Shell next door that says Supreme 93 for $3.59 but since it doesn't have 'Techron' for cleaning the engine they charge less tax and the actual price you pay would've been $3.89 per gallon.

Originally Posted by Spoddy View Post
Completely disagree there. This is nothing to do with being transparent. At the longest stretch it's for the airlines to start petitioning against so many taxes.

The politician(s) who put this forward know exactly what they wrote and why.

SAAWS - could you reduce that image size please?
Done. I didn't know the federal government design team caught up with Retina display and create ads in 2550x2880 pixels!
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Old Apr 16, 14, 12:22 pm
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Originally Posted by KevinDTW View Post
Wow, I was so bamboozled by the title of this bill...I can't believe it turns out to be the opposite of what it purports to be. Not intentional, I'm sure.
Hmm, either you forgot the <sarcasm> tag or you're from somewhere other than the US. It's normal practice in the US Congress to title bills opposite to their actual purpose. See, for example, the proposed Clear Skies Act of 2003. You would be forgiven if you got the impression that its purpose was to reduce air pollution. Its real purpose was to weaken air-pollution controls.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
Hmm, either you forgot the <sarcasm> tag or you're from somewhere other than the US. It's normal practice in the US Congress to title bills opposite to their actual purpose.
I thought that post was dripping with sarcasm and didn't even feel the need for the tag. But just to be clear:
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Old Apr 16, 14, 12:28 pm
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Originally Posted by KevinDTW View Post
I thought that post was dripping with sarcasm and didn't even feel the need for the tag. But just to be clear:
I didn't need the tag, but sarcasm often eludes netizens. ^
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Old Apr 16, 14, 12:28 pm
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Originally Posted by saaws View Post
Done. I didn't know the federal government design team caught up with Retina display and create ads in 2550x2880 pixels!
I'm sure it's that size because they either a) paid a bunch of money to a marketing firm to design it in 80 different sizes, b) they're planning on printing 10,000 copies of it on paper, or c) both a and b.

Interesting graphic, though. Are those white rows what makes up fuel surcharges, or is that just left out altogether?

I know I'm focusing on those surcharges here, but to me those tend to make the biggest difference for lots of flights, where at least with the gov't taxes you can kinda sorta expect them to be the same across all carriers. The end goal is for consumers to be able to comparison shop, so we could expect an advertised $200 flight on AA to have a total cost less than a $250 flight on DL, if both are subject to the same gov't taxes and fees (which they generally will be).

The discrepancy comes if AA advertises $200 and DL advertises $250, but AA's fuel charge is $200 and DL's is only $100.

Or, y'know, Congress could use some common sense and just tell the airlines to continue advertising the exact amount that will show up on someone's credit card bill should they choose to purchase that ticket. I suppose that would be too straightforward and simple, though.
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