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Give Us Your Personal Data Or Pay Full Fare 342

Posted by samzenpus
from the name-and-blood-type dept.
ebh writes "Noted in an AP story about how fees make it difficult to compare air travel costs, is how the airline industry is moving toward tailoring offer packages (and presumably, fares) for individuals based on their personal information. Worse, 'The airline association said consumers who choose not to supply personal information would still be able to see fares and purchase tickets, though consumer advocates said those fares would probably be at the "rack rate" — the travel industry's term for full price, before any discounts.'"
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Give Us Your Personal Data Or Pay Full Fare

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  • by Shag (3737) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @06:00AM (#42402523) Homepage

    Airlines are (and have been, and will continue to be) giving preferential treatment to their better customers. How this is even news, I don't know - frequent flyer programs have been around for what, thirty years now? And you don't have to fly to see all the advertising about how getting the airline's affinity credit card saves you from paying for that first checked bag every time you fly with them, and so on, and so forth. Flying 25,000 miles a year with them gets you that too, plus bonus miles, plus free upgrades when available, and the perks only go up from there.

    Earlier this millennium, I spent a few years as a top-tier frequent flyer on an airline that has since merged into one of the remaining behemoths. I was in my 30's at the time, and had some "work" that involved a lot of international flights. (Thanks for paying your taxes, if you live in any of the twenty-odd countries whose governments were funding it.) It was even worthwhile for me to buy a membership in their lounges. Their back-end system had a formula for determining "high-value customers," and based partly on how many years I was expected to be their customer before retiring, it decided they were going to make some bucks off me, even though I always flew on the cheapest available fares.

    The airline that borged them didn't have this generous of a nature, but said "wow, look at this great data-mining system!" and adopted it, not fully understanding what they were getting. A year or so after the merger, I used some miles for a free, non-upgradable ticket to meet up with my fiancée in Paris for a weekend. I got to the hub airport for the trans-Atlantic flight to Paris, the gate agent paged me, looked me up and down (yeah, t-shirt and sandals), asked if I was in fact me, looked more than a little distressed, then dragged me off to the side away from the counter and said in hushed tones, "We're not allowed to do this - but the computer says to upgrade you!"

    As far as I know, this airline's computer still thinks I am a god among men, and unless they deliberately go in and tweak the algorithms, it may think that forever. I'm... okay with this. :)

  • Re:so... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @08:55AM (#42402985) Homepage

    If it wasn't being used for something, it wouldn't be the price to get less expensive groceries.

    I thought it was mostly used to put the things you buy at opposite ends of the store so you have to walk past all the other stuff every time you go there.

  • Re:so... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Alien Being (18488) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @12:02PM (#42404167)

    That's what I did until I decided that I just wasn't going to carry around a stack of those stupid cards. At that point I just started tell cashiers that I have the card but it's at home. They ALMOST always just use a "store card". One time though, the cashier refused and insisted on charging me $140 instead of $100. I left all my groceries on the belt, walked out and started using a different market.

    I didn't go back for several years until one day when I needed just a few items and it was the most convenient place to get them. They had since dropped their hardass policy about the cards. They lost more than $25k in sales on me. I smile now when I read stories about Shaw's Supermarkets being on the verge of bankruptcy. Assholes.

  • Re:so... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @01:59PM (#42405007)

    For stupidmarkets, yes at times I have to be stupid and buy from them.

    I used Mohammad Wail Hussein, the address I used led to a crack house, the phone number was a local police department. They could link it to a CC card so I use a business one for "Asshole Unlimited" a local business I created for that purpose. It pays $20 in taxes a year. I change the company name regularly but not often due to the fees. I did have a card number of the loyalty card one of the big wigs of the stupidmarket. Printed and pasted the barcode to a card. It was good for 20 gallons free a week till they cut it off.

    I get better prices at the international grocery on fresh veggies and fruits which are fresher and there's more variety. Meats come from a kosher meat packer that takes orders by phone and has a will call desk. I get my spices, rice other grains and beans from that market above, an Indian grocer and a middle eastern grocer all of them have the most amazing stuff. I cut my food bill about 30 percent, I support local people who don't intrude on my life other than providing fabulous food. I'm now actively looking for other small businesses.

  • by Cederic (9623) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @09:58PM (#42408195) Journal

    This is why everybody I know wears a very big coat with surprisingly large pockets when flying with Ryanair.

    I carry a tablet, two books, my headphones, a drink, three days clothing and a pair of dance shoes in my coat all the time, honest.

"A mind is a terrible thing to have leaking out your ears." -- The League of Sadistic Telepaths

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