Actually I am convinced that airlines can and will try to get away with everything they can. For instance I am traveling on American to the west coast next week and decided to change my flight from the redeye on Wednesday night to the redeye on Tuesday night. I fully anticipated having to pay the fee to change. A change fee of $ 150 mind you. Not thrilling me when the entire discounted fare was $ 267 roundtrip!
However that’s not the rub. Somehow since I am on a discounted fare I have to pay the fare difference since it is inside a different fare price time frame when it would be more expensive to book the flight now than when we did 2 weeks ago. Huh? Wha? The idea being that if I booked the fare today for next week it would cost more than $ 267 round trip. Ok I get that. But I am changing the return time only and changing nothing else. The exact same origination, exact same itinerary.
So now the fare difference plus the change fee makes the change worth $ 339.00. That’s right the cost to change my flight one-way is MORE than the cost of the original round-trip flight itself. Kind of makes my head want to explode! But wait friends, there’s more. Oh yes there’s definitely more. Let’s say that I booked the flight and somehow in the interim period the actual fare went down. You’d think that I’d pay the change fee ($ 150) and then the difference would be credited back. But noooooo! The airlines don’t do that. It’s a one way street folks and you know which side of the street the customers are on.
I wish Southwest would have offered a flight that worked for me here. They don’t do the additional fee hustle and somehow they make money. No frills perhaps but no BS either. And while I am singling out American (they’ve incurred my wrath before), Delta and Continental do the same things for the most part.
What choices do we have? Not many. I fully realize that $ 267.00 roundtrip is a very low fare – below market even. How can an airline fly me back and forth in this day and age for $ 133.50 each way? I mean a $ 200 round trip fare in 1980 to the coast was an amazing bargain even then. What really toasts my bagels is that most people (including me) don’t really know what the risks are when you buy a cheap fare. And that’s just what the major carriers are counting on.
Air travel is now nothing more than Greyhound in the air and that’s obvious but somehow the carriers would like us to think it’s better than that.
All I can hope for now is to be happy I avoided the hated middle seat on a 6 hour flight. Since at a low fare that’s what’s coming next. Low fare = middle seat. You want an aisle or window – reach for the credit card. It’s coming folks, get ready for it.
Rant over. Or help me rant on?