sorry if this was covered before…

but could someone please explain to me why airlines are allowed to

  1. change prices as much as they want. sometimes you will be sitting next to someone who paid 100 dollars less.

  2. can cancel flights at anytime and leave you left out.

  3. can oversell tickets.

  4. can charge those huge prices anyway.

no other industry gets away with that, does it?

Uh, I think it’s a little something called the free market system.
They’re “allowed” to because we, as consumers of their “services”, let them.

Having said that, and even being a real proponent of the FMS, #2 really bugs me when it happens to me.

Have a nice trip!

And if you think those prices are “huge” now, you should’ve seen how high they were before the airlines were de-regulated!

You think the difference is only $100?? I’ve flow (on business, of course) from Chicago to San Francisco in the last few months for prices ranging from $500 to $1600. Depends on how long in advance the reservation was made, whether travel involves a weekend, whether the ticket is refundable or nonrefundable…

… whether the month has an “R” in it…

You know what else pisses me off? I ALWAYS HAVE TO SIT ON THOSE GODDAMN MIDDLE SEATS. & there’s always fat people on either side of me, encroaching their rolls of flab into my personal space. I hate it I hate it I hatehatehate it!! I generally do e-tickets when I fly, so my seat is assigned at the airport, & I think the people who work for the airlines take a look at me & think since I’m small (5’4", 110 pounds) that I won’t mind, BUT I DO. I bet if I were a big fat chick I could get window seats all the time.

Well Stella, I’d could suggest that you just shove your scrawny midget ass into an overhead compartment and save everybody some room.

See, we can work it out!

Back off, man. I’m a scientist.

Even when you’re using an e-ticket, you can get your seat assigned in advance. After buying your tickets online (or whatever), just call the airline’s reservations number and ask for a seat assignment. Unless you’ve bought the ticket at the last minute, or you’re flying a very busty route, you can nearly always find an available aisle seat.

Laugh hard; it’s a long way to the bank.

Mmmm . . . a busty route. Wish I could fly those friendly skies.

Just like hotels, airlines also decide in advance how many tickets on the plane are going to sell at which prices. There are different classes of fares–not business, 1st and coach–which are predetermined. For example, the airline may decide that 5% of the seats will be sold at a deep discount rate, 40% at a somewhat discounted rate, 40% at the standard rate, and 5% at a grossly inflated rate to screw the poor suckers who bought their ticket last minute.
Remember this when you are booking tickets on line. Some of the travel programs are better than others at actually giving you the lowest available fare.
I was stuck once in Bangkok for a week because of this fare scheme. Totally pissed me off. I had paid extra for an open return, meaning that there was no set return date. The deal was that I was to call the airline a few days before I wanted to depart and they would put me on the next available flight. When I called, however, they told me they couldn’t get me on a flight for a month. I had a fit, of course. After all, they weren’t doing me a favor. I paid extra for an open return. After much bitching, they got me on a flight in a week. I later found out that those other flights weren’t sold out, they just didn’t have any seats in the fare class that I had paid for (again, I’m not talking 1st, business, etc.–the industry referrs to the different rates as classes of fares). For the money I spent to stay in Bangkok for an extra week, I could have flown home 1st class. Bastards.
Ooh, sorry about the tangent. Didn’t even realize I was still so pissed off about that! :slight_smile:

Don’t get me wrong–I love life. I’m just finding it harder and harder to keep myself amused.

Thanks for the tip, Aura Seer…I did not know that. COOL.

& Alphagene can bite my toned, cellulite-free butt.

What’s worse, Stella, is being stuck in a window seat when a “chunker” is on the aisle - and they’re sleeping and you REALLY have to Go. Ouch. The aisle seat at least gives you an easy escape route.

Darlings, just do what your Auntie Flora does and only fly first class!

You get to breeze through the airport and not have to wait in line with poor people, you get to sit in the first-class lounge while Nubians feed you cookies, and you get to sit in individual seats.

Really, sometimes the answer is just so OBVIOUS!

Flora, you frist class swine.

To the underclass: Greetings, may you be bumped up to first class.

Should I be wealthy, and during my interview I will be asked, “What was it that inspired you to succeed?” I will say that it was flying economy. With some airlines I expect to be shown my oar when I board.

The overhead attendant call buttons??? Ha-ha-ha, if you’ve got balls! They’ve got that ‘This better be good’ look down pat. The Tokyo to LA flights–what a cattle drive.

I’d have to be REALLY rich before I’d fly first class, and even then I think I’d rather just give the extra money to the poor or my kids or something.

I mean, a first-class ticket can cost you $500-$1000 more than a seat in coach. How rich do you have to be to be willing to pay $1000 to sit in a wider seat for three hours and have a slightly better meal?

Most people in first class don’t pay for their tickets. They get free upgrades for frequent flyer points, or are flying on an expense account, or whatever.

I’ve travelled first class just once in my adult life. (I was on a business trip, I missed my original return flight, and no more coach seats were available.) If you’ve never done it, you have no idea how different the experience is.

Instead of a seat barely wide enough for my butt, I had enough room to cross my legs and not bother anyone. When the guy in front of me reclined his seat, his head did not end up in my lap.
Instead of just a napkin and a plastic fork, I got a real dinner plate and metal utensils.
Instead of snack food and a cold sandwich, I got a delicious chicken focaccia, plus a fresh salad with honey-mustard dressing (my favorite!). There were two other entree options which I’ve forgotten.
The flight attendants gave us steaming hot towels before dinner, and a selection of cocktails and candies afterward.

But as much as I liked it, I just couldn’t afford to do it all the time. When I bought my tickets to New York for Christmas, coach cost me $234 round-trip; to go first class on the same flights, I’d have paid over $3300. Eleven times the expense is a bit too rich for my blood.

Laugh hard; it’s a long way to the bank.

You could always charter a smaller plane and fly with only the people you wanted to.

Or get a private pilot’s certificate and fly yourself. (Of course, then, the in-flight entertainment will consist of receiving VFR Flight Following traffic advisories while you’re en route. And trying to figure out where you are on the chart when you’re out of range of the VORTAC you’re using. You have no idea how similar all mountains look from above. But I digress.)

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

You know, all I really want is not to be squished while flying. I’d be happy to pick up my meal/snack on the way to the plane (as I did the weekend before last), I don’t really NEED hot moist towels, and I don’t generally have cocktails anyway. But I’d certainly enjoy actually being comfortable in an airline seat. However, I don’t value this enough to pay $700 to $1000 more for my ticket. My round trip ticket was about $250, and I would have been happy to pay $500 or so for a wider seat and more leg room, without any other extra services.

I think the designers made the seats to fit anorexic 12 year old girls.

Lynn the Packrat

Tracer–you can always listen to 108.00 on your Nav radio and hope there is an FM station on that frequency, or listen to AM if you have an ADF, assuming you don’t require stereo. Cheaper than a CD player and Bose X.

Lynn: There was an attempt to do something like that a while a go. It was called “business class”. You get a slightly bigger seat and a modem port, but no pheasant under glass or Chateau LeTour.

Ethan: Only problem is, those AM stations are marked REALLY small on the aeronautical charts, and the DJs only call out the station ID letters once in a blue moon (after making you listen through 54 minutes of some call-in loony raving about the CIA plot to fix oil prices).

I can’t imagine how people who are overweight can stand to fly. I’m not a big person and the seats feel too small and too close together to me. My last flight, I was certain the damn plane had shrunk in the couple of hours we sat on the runway waiting to take off. I’d think that as uncomfortable as I am about sitting that close to other people, larger people must feel much worse, since they can’t really help but encroach.

I got to fly first class for several flights on Delta’s buck due to a royally FUBAR set of circumstances I won’t trouble you with. The difference was unbelievable. I had enough room, and getting on and off is fabulous. If I had money, I would always fly first class.

My real peeve is with everyone else’s favorite airline: Southwest. Who the #%$@ came up with the “first come, first seat assignment” crap? This ensures that if you are not at the terminal two hours before your flight leaves, you will not be sitting with your travelling companion.

I mean, this just panders to the very worst parts of human nature, which are already too much in abundance in airports. People sit window, aisle, window, aisle, all the way to the back of the plane before gasp sitting next to ANOTHER PERSON!

And then, if it isn’t already too aggravating to have to beg single travellers to move over one seat to allow you and your travelling companion to sit close enough to carry on a conversation, they make you play idiot games, like passing toilet paper above your head and the like.

I don’t care what I have to pay, give me an actual seat assignment, and don’t be cute, because I want to read my book.

Most maddening though, is that virtually every other person I’ve ranted about Southwest to invariably says something like, “Oh, I love Southwest! I’ve never had a bad experience…those cute uniforms…love playing the games, blah blah.”