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Do you get a baggage fee refund if the airline loses your bag? Apparently not on Northwest

Posted by George Hobica on Thursday, August 28, 2008

Think your last flight failed to measure up? Read this trip report from Kay in Marquette:

"My daughter was charged an additional $50 for 2 lbs over. We paid it and then when we arrived in Green Bay we had no luggage. We asked for a $50 refund since the luggage didn't arrive when we did we should be compensated. they said no and they would mail us our luggage when and if they would arrive. We waited 4 1/2 hours for the next flight to come in and retrieve our luggage as we still had a 3 hour drive to get home and we needed our belongings."

Great work, Northwest.

And then there was the TSA in Minneapolis. "The battle witch who was selected to check me was very rude and frankly a nasty person. I was wearing a metal, plastic and neopreen knee brace on my leg due to an injury and she treated me as if I was a nasty criminal. Even the male security people wondered why she was behaving so nasty. She wanted to take me to the private security area to strip search me. The male guard told her to just wipe the bottom of my splint with a cloth and then let me go if it was negative.You are told to put all your belongings in bins to be checked and then to wait in a glass booth till someone comes to get you. I watched as people walked by my belongings and anyone could have walked off with my purse watch money id cards and jacket. When they opened the glass door for me to walk thru to be checked, I reached for the tray to make sure that my belongings would be safe the TSA female yelled at me that she hadn't given me permission to touch my things. I looked at my daughter and she picked them up for me. Then the TSA asked where my things were and I told her my daughter had them. Aren't we supposed to keep our belongings in our site at all times? I am 56, female, walking with a cane and Knee brace. I don't think I would be going anywhere to fast. The lady kept patting me down everywhere. I just came from my daughters wedding and must say this is the only rude person I have found thru my whole trip to Texas. It is the first time I had met a nasty TSA. Thru this whole experience I kept my mouth shut and smiled pleasantly and obeyed her directions and she still behaved quite nasty. She then said "Have a nice day." I realize that TSAs are important but one does not have to be nasty. It was 7am and a really long day after that."

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+


Zoom Airlines calling it quits

Posted by Tracy Stewart on Thursday, August 28, 2008

Well, there goes another one. Canadian and UK based Zoom Airlines has ceased operations as of today, after having filed for insolvency. Said Zoom founders Hugh and John Boyle, "The price of oil resulted in our fuel bill jumping by nearly $50 million in one year and we could not recover that from passengers who had already booked their flights."

Seems like only yesterday we were waiting for Zoom's final go ahead from the DOT to set up service between JFK and London Gatwick! Sigh.

Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are offering discounted fares to stranded Zoom passengers, and has listed (in addition to an apology) other carriers which service Zoom's routes, such as Air Transat, Air Canada, Air France, Fly Globespan, Canadian Affair, British Airways, Air New Zealand, Alitalia, and American Airlines.

To learn more, visit Tracy Stewart's profile on Google+

Categories: Airline Industry News

So what's your opinion about Spirit Airlines? Just wondering.

Posted by George Hobica on Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So we've gotten quite a few negative emails about spunky little Spirit Airlines lately. They allow a lot of people to fly for next to nothing with their $3 and 3 cent fares. But some of you are not happy campers.

Here are two of them:

From Robert in Michigan:

"What has been your experience with Spirit Airline customer service ? I tried to cancel my $ 9 Fare trail membership as it reverts to a $40.00 membership after 90 day, Repeated attempts to contact by phone we unsucesssful after 20 minute plus calls being placed on hold with no one answering. I the tried canceling on line and they stated that they did not recognize me as a customer. The small print staets that it takes 4-6 weeks to cancel but they immediately processed my cc when I signed up. Spoke with a co worker who stated she had a similar experience. If you've had other complaints you would be doing your readers a huge favor by letting them know that Spirit is definetly not customer friendly."

and from Sam in California:

"In Re: Spirit Airlines $6.00 R/T fares on 08/26/2008. I booked 4 R/T tickets and the fee was charged by Spirit on my credit card. A hard copy of the flights, fees, credit card charge and passengers are in my possession via a download. After the charges were made to my card a code # 1018 stated that "we were unable to reserve the selected flight(s) at this time. Please select another flight(s). This disingenuous act is nothing short of a bait and switch tactic which is illegal. I took advantage of a deeply discounted airfare and it seems crystal clear that Spirit did not want to sell me these tickets at the advertised price. If the fare/seats were not available then my credit card should not have been charged. I would strongly suggest that your credibility would be at risk should you continue to mention any further 'Deals' from Spirit Airlines. I contacted the airline at 800-772-7117 and spoke with Ivan located in India who told me to take up this issue with my credit card issuer. I asked to speak to his supervisor and have been put on hold for the last 28 minutes without any additional contact. I recognize that this airline has poor customer service nevertheless one should expect and receive decent levels of communication.  This whole scenario reeks of a potential bankruptcy filing after obtaining funds under false pretenses. The total length of time I was put on hold was 45 minutes and 55 seconds. I called again and explained the situation to "Vic," who transfer me to a supervisor and said my wait would be 2-3 minutes and would stay on the line until the supervisor came in contact with me. This call lasted 13 minutes and 24 seconds before they disconected from me."

So what's your opinion? Please click and leave a comment.

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Frontier adds frequent flyer fees

Posted by George Hobica on Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Add Frontier to the growing list of airlines charging to cash in frequent flyer miles. Beginning Sept 15, they'll start charging $25 to cash in, and $75 if you do so 14 days or fewer before travel, for a total potential hit of $100. They're also upping the number of frequent flyer miles required on most itineraries by 5,000 miles. If you haven't already checked it out, see our handy airline frequent flyer fee chart.

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Weird JetBlue sale available only for one-direction travel and only on one specific day

Posted by George Hobica on Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We have honestly not seen any airline do this before. JetBlue is offering really cheap sale fares to various destinations, but only in one direction and only for one day of travel (travel days vary depending on route). Fares are available only on their site. And a note on their site says, "Offers change daily. Be sure to check back each day."

This is new, new, new. The fares, although they will probably only help a few people are really low (moving to Orlando and you were thinking of leaving on September 12? Well, change it to September 10 and fly for $49!).  Actually, you can combine a cheap one way fare with a more expensive fare in the other direction, and save some cash, so as long as you have flexible travel dates, this could be a bargain

Fares are as low as $19 (Long Beach to Sacramento one way on September 16) and range up to $99 (Long Beach to Boston on October 20). Perhaps JetBlue looked at their inventory and saw a bunch of undersold flights and decided what the heck. The sale is titled, "Seven Days of Super Low Fares to Lots of Destinations" but it's not clear when the last day of sale is. Seven days from now? Or will they change the fares daily over the next seven days?

We'll be watching this very closely. In our humble opinion, more and more airlines will be bypassing the Kayaks and selling super low fares only on their own sites, as American, Southwest, Allegiant, and Spirit already do.

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

The biggest new airline fees target surfers

Posted by Molly Feltner on Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fees up, dude! As a recent LA Times article points out, surfers are now getting hit with what might be the biggest new airline fee yet: checked surfboard charges. While fees for checked bags are up across-the-board, some airlines are now charging flyers as much as $300 to check a surfboard. However, the airlines seem to let golfers off the hook, only applying regular first and second baggage fees to golf bags.

To see which airlines are charging the most for surfboards, go to


Are the airlines unfairly targeting surfers? Post a comment below.

$24 off on Spirit

Posted by George Hobica on Monday, August 25, 2008

This sale is good for just $24 hours when you use promo code 24HOURS. You always get $10 off on Spirit when you book on their site, so this gives you an additional $14 off. Plus, you save booking fees that you'll encounter on sites like Travelocity (typically $7) for a total savings of $31 round-trip. Right now, we see a lot of $104 RT fares on their nonstop routes, such as New York/Detroit, Detroit/Ft Lauderdale, and Chicago/Tampa. Meanwhile, Northwest is beating the sale by a few bucks out of Detroit.

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

Kayak still not listing American's fares; and no, Fast Company, it doesn't have Southwest either

Posted by George Hobica on Friday, August 22, 2008

According to an article in the September issue of Fast Company, is the only site that lists fares on Southwest. Well, uh, no. Kayak does not list fares on Southwest. Southwest appears as a link when you search for a fare on a route they serve, but the Kayak link just leads you to, without giving you a fare for the route you searched. You're on your own when you land on Southwest's site.

As you know, is the only fare listing site that includes Southwest, and that's because we research for their fares the way any consumer would; we don't use software or "scraping," which was what Kayak attempted to do, until they got that cease and desist. You're on your own when you click on our Southwest links, too, except that we've at least told you what the lowest fare we found is, whereas Kayak doesn't even do that (they just tell you  that Southwest flies the route).

Anyway, Kayak also doesn't list fares on American anymore, either, although a note on their site says they hope to have the "issue" fixed soon. So Kayak now doesn't list fares on the two biggest US airlines based on domestic passengers carried.

And while we're at it, Kayak, could you please stop with the Priceline-checked-by-default nonsense, so that whenever we do a search a Priceline pop up window appears on our screen? This is not a good user experience. Yes, we know, you've got to make money, and although we don't know how much Priceline is paying you for this, it's just not worth it, in our humble opinion.

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

United cuts free meals in transatlantic coach and domestic business class

Posted by Molly Feltner on Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This year, the airlines have been busily packing on the extra fees and cutting services. However, there have been a few "sacred cows" the carriers have avoided messing with: international flights and upper-class services. Unfortunately, United has just decided to commit sacrilege. The airline will cut free meals in coach class on Europe flights and in business class on domestic flights.

Read the full details of United's cuts on

Surprised by these cuts or not? Post a comment below.

Categories: Airline Industry News


Posted by Molly Feltner on Wednesday, August 20, 2008

usatoday.comThis is a sample posting.


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