FEEd Me
September 8, 2016

Back in 2014 United announced an increase to its ticket-change fee to $200 from $50. Of course, the other major carriers quickly jumped on this gravy train.

These days, the standard change fee for legacy airlines is $200 plus the fare difference, (Southwest is an exception).

This raises a dilemma, when your airfare runs close to the $200 mark and you need to make a change, do you trash the original ticket or pay up? Most people just ditch it, (knowing the remaining connecting flights will be cancelled too.

But the airlines are wising up to this no-show maneuver.

Introducing the ‘no-show fee’

Can’t make your flight? There’s a price.

Some airlines are now charging a “no-show” fee for people who book a seat and then don’t use it.
It’s another perfect ancillary fee for the airlines that is exempt from the 7.5% US domestic airfare excise tax.
Internationally, Korean Air announced that effective October 1, in a move to “minimize seat wastage,” it will charge fees or people who don’t show up for their international flight – $50 – $120, the amount of which will be charged to the credit card used to make the booking. 

Singapore Air charges $75 for no-shows, while JAL has a $300 nonrefundable “cancellation after departure” fee.

Similarly, Emirates also has a no-show penalty for its passengers, but even costlier. By not showing up for your flight, you are subjected to pay an additional fee of at least $400 and $800 for economy class and business class respectively. 
Dubious Fees 

 A ticket breakdown of a Delta int’l flight, fromjeffsetter.com
For those with lots of patience, take a look at the breakdown of your international ticket. Notice the fee tacked on that inflates the fare by hundreds of dollars, notes BusinessInsider.
Usually called a carrier fee or carrier-imposed fee, there is no clue as to what the fees are for, how steep they can be and why they’re seemingly handed out in an arbitrary manner. 
Well, it appears that these fees are a sneaky way for airlines to keep the fuel surcharge, despite the price of oil dropping.
Since 2012 the Department of Transportation has required the term ‘fuel surcharges’ reflect a ‘reasonable estimate of the per-passenger fuel costs incurred by the carrier.” Since then, the use of that term has vanished – only to reappear as a ‘carrier fee.’ 

A British Airways flight codeshare with American Airlines includes $518 in carrier-imposed fees on a booking using rewards miles. -WashingtonPost

Getty
Computer Failure
This week, British Airways apologized to delayed passengers following an “IT glitch” that affected check-in desks worldwide – the fifth in just three months.
This has been a summer of data problems for airlines.  
Last month, Delta Air Lines canceled more than 1,500 flights after the failure of a piece of equipment in Atlanta led to the worldwide shutdown of its computer systems. A similar malfunction affected Southwest Airlines in July, forcing it to cancel about 2,300 flights over four days.

Malicious cyber attack or cost-cutting?
Earlier this year, British Airways fired hundreds of their IT department after an Indian firm was hired to handle its computer systems under the new management of their latest CEO, hired from low-cost carrier Vueling Airlines.  Many are blaming the CEO for the decline of BA, once a national treasure, into becoming a version of Ryanair.

However, dozens of travel-related websites have experienced data breaches in 2015 – raising cyber attack worries. Data from those websites is sold on underground forums by cybercriminals. Travel-site data is fetches about the same price in the criminal underground as that from dating and employment websites, both sought by criminals.

Last year, United, American and Sabre detected incursions into their computer systems. Investigators linked the United attack to a group of China-backed hackers they say were behind several other large heists — including the theft of security-clearance records from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and medical data from health insurer Anthem Inc.

Your Letters! 

Dear FlyersRights:

Flying the airlines used to be a gala affair that people got dressed up
for and looked forward to. Nowadays, it’s like going to prison.

In prison, angry-looking people in uniforms with badges put you through
metal detectors and frisk you before letting you in.
At the airport, angry-looking people in uniforms with badges put you
through metal detectors and frisk you before letting you in.

In prison, they tell you what personal items you can have and a have a
list of contraband items you can’t have.
On a plane, they tell you what personal items you can have and have a
list of contraband items you can’t have.

In prison, they run your life and tell you when to stand up, sit down,
and eat.
On a plane, they run your life and tell you when to stand up, sit down,
and eat.

Prison is a place most people would rather not be.
Airplanes are a place most people would rather not be.

In prison, they stick you next to a surly stranger and you have nothing
to say about it.
On a plane, they stick you next to a surly stranger and you have nothing
to say about it.

In prison you sit on uncomfortable chairs bolted to the floor.
On a plane, you sit on uncomfortable chairs bolted to the floor.

In prison, you sleep on a lumpy cot with a thin blanket and a tiny pillow.
On a plane, you sleep on a lumpy seat without any blanket or pillow at all.

In prison, the food is lousy.
On a plane, the food is lousy.

In prison, you can’t get out until they let you out.
On a plane, you can’t get out until they let you out.

In prison, sometimes there are riots brought on by intolerable conditions.
On a plane, sometimes there are riots brought on by intolerable conditions.

In prison, if you don’t like it, tough luck.
On a plane, if you don’t like it, tough luck.

In some ways, prison is better than an airplane. In prison, you can get
a college degree and make a few bucks learning a trade. With the
airlines, you pay them for the exact same treatment. And no time off
for good behavior. Top ‘o the world, ma!!

– MD

REINSTATING THE RECIPROCITY RULE

Getting on a Plane? 
Put This Number in Your Phone:
1 (877) Flyers6
The FlyersRights HOTLINE!
 

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