Last week Southwest Airlines advertised fares as low as $69. Low fares always catch my eye and seeing that I have to get down to the Bay Area this fall, I took a look. Sure enough, right there in bold print, Portland to San Jose $69.
As I navigated around Southwest’s user-friendly web site, I found a Wanna Get Away fare in September for $65. This includes taxes and fees. I hadn’t seen fares this low in years, so I bought a couple seats.
This morning I read that the airlines are asking Congress to repeal the law that require the airlines to publish fares which include taxes and fees. In other words, the fare you see is the fare you get. Transparency, I like it.
Before this law, the airlines advertised, in large type, the base fare up front with additional taxes and fees, in small print, after scrolling through pages of conditions. The airlines like this idea for the simple reason hotels, car rental agencies, and other travel related businesses do. Mathematically, the base fare is the lowest fare and consumers tend to zero-in on the lowest fares without reading or scrolling through the fine print. Fine print? Who reads that? Congressional travel agents? No. Me? Rarely, fine print is a hassle.
It seems like the airlines might win this and go back to their old fare-disclosure ways-the fare you see is not the fare you get.
Despite putting up with a do-nothing Congress for years, the transportation committee discussed this for an entire nine minutes. Nine minutes? As passengers, be prepared to spend more than nine minutes filtering through fine print and conditions, arriving soon on your favorite travel search.
I wonder how long the discussion was when Congress declared pizza a vegetable?