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Give Us Your Personal Data Or Pay Full Fare 342

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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  • so... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:09AM (#42401961)

    We've established the nature of the relationship, we're now just haggling over the cost...

    Or, principles are expensive...

      How many data mining tokens er loyalty cards are in your wallet?

    • by flyneye ( 84093 )

      Did it occur to anyone to LIE about their personal information? Make up a paper man? Eliminate personal snooping as a barrier?

      • by knarf ( 34928 )

        Did it occur to anyone to LIE about their personal information? Make up a paper man? Eliminate personal snooping as a barrier?

        While that would work for a supermarket loyalty card, it is rather hard to do when you actually want to use the tickets you buy through them since the data on the tickets would not match that on your passport. As you know you have to show a passport (or similar ID token) before you board an airplane to ward off the evil terrorists. That this also happens to make it impossible to rese

        • Why not just use a fake passport, like the terrorists do?
          • Good idea, except the penalty for being caught forging a passport is pretty stiff. About the only way I'd try it, is if I were being hunted by the FBI, ATF, CIA, ICE, IRS, and my ex-wife. It's much simpler to drive to the border somewhere, and sneak across. Heck, the Mexicans do it all day and all night, without getting shot up.

    • Re:so... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @01:29PM (#42404761) Journal
      How many data mining tokens er loyalty cards are in your wallet?

      Four. Only one (currently) in my name. Every now and then I randomly swap them with friends to poison the (dis)loyalty well.

      We've established the nature of the relationship, we're now just haggling over the cost...

      The cost: Give me your best price without playing games, or I'll go to your competition.

      Although the "premium" airlines might not get it yet, the likes of JetBlue and SouthWest most assuredly do.

      And y'know, I don't always mind the nickel-and-dime approach, within reason. They just need to limit it to what really costs them money, rather than getting petty. Weight costs money, so baggage costs money. I tend to travel light, so by all means, charge an extra $50 to the morons who could sneak Grandma on in their ginormous bags. Soda, OTOH, costs less than fuel. Charge me a buck for a half-can, and you can bet your ass I'll bring my own with me from the terminal (where it only costs half-insane)
      • The cost: Give me your best price without playing games, or I'll go to your competition.

        There's the rub. When all the competition does the same damn thing, where can you go? Carte Blanche monopolies and corporate mergers/takeovers means that there can only be less than half a dozen competitors of any volume. Anyone else is on the outskirts are wholesale prices for the little guy are maybe one or two cents below what the big boys are charging retail, minus the "loyalty" discount. Walmart is already there, except AFAIK they don't have a discount program.


        Beancounters will ally with marketers

    • I'm baffled how this information can be worth that much. Ie, if you save $100 in fares, is your personal data really worth that much in advertising revenue in a short period? Let's say $1 in spent on ads, and these are amazing mind control ads so that %5 of people actually buy what they're told instead of a competing product, and the product margins are 10%. For $100 reduced fare this means someone is going to have to be spending $20,000 due to advertising. Ok, that's optimistic. Let's say that everyon

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:09AM (#42401963)

    In Australia this has been mostly fixed legislatively under the 'component pricing' laws. []

    Component pricing is advertising a price in its component parts rather than as a single figure, and can create an impression that a product is being offered for sale at a lower price than it actually is. The [legislation requires] that if you choose to use component pricing in advertisements, you must also provide consumers with a prominent single total price for goods and services, as they are able to be quantified at that time.

    The single price means the minimum total cost that is able to be quantified (or calculated) at the time of making the representation.

    You must include in the single price any:

    • * charges of any desciption payable by a consumer to purchase the good or service (e.g. administration fees, compulsory services charges, booking fees)
    • * taxes, duties, fees, levies or charges payable by the consumer for the supply of the good or service (e.g. goods and services tax or sales tax).
    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      The single price means the minimum total cost that is able to be quantified (or calculated) at the time of making the representation.

      That's all well and good for taxes, but what about

      • luggage
      • carry-on
      • choosing a seat
      • better seat (extra leg room, emergency exit, etc)
      • priority lane

      You could argue that these are not necessities (thus the law you quote does not apply). But I would say that a carry-on charge, for example, really pushes the line of "necessity".

      • I don't know of an airline in .au (other than weight challenged ones) that charge for carry-on.
        though the rest of your issues are quite valid. prices advertised are usually ones without checked luggage. Choosing a seat in advance of check in (when booking) is extra, Better seats are extra, upfront seats are better (i don't see how these are better when flying the cheaper airlines as they typically do fore and aft boarding)
        priority lanes are also not included

        • I don't know of an airline in .au (other than weight challenged ones) that charge for carry-on.

          Nor in Europe. Not even Ryan Air.

      • Did you ever see what people cram into the cabin just to avoid luggage fees? I'd love to see a fee for people travelling WITHOUT checked baggage and give an incentive to get all that baggage where it belongs - in the cargo area!

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I travel light. I don't have the time to wait for luggage once I get to my destination, and don't care much for not having my luggage out of sight, getting lost, etc. If you're going to make this rule, make stricter rules about the amount you can carry on board. I'm fine with a single cabin class bag + my laptop.
          • by berberine ( 1001975 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @09:20AM (#42403087) Homepage
            I don't know why people are modding you down because you are right. All through the 80s and 90s when I flew, your carryon was limited to very specific size measurements. I had a rucksack that I could take when I flew to The Netherlands, but, every single time, upon return, KLM's carryon sizes were smaller. Occasionally, if the flight was not full, they'd let me take it on, but most of the time it had to be checked.

            The last time I flew (Denver to New York) the carryon luggage was the size of regular luggage and I saw people literally punching the bags to fit into the overhead bin. I had a backpack and my netbook, both of which fit right under the seat in front of me. Somewhere along the lines, they just started letting people take whatever they wanted into the cabin and now they're forced to deal with it because it's become a huge issue.

            Like you, I don't like my stuff out of my sight. I pack extremely light because of this. A good rule of thumb for people taking on carryon luggage, if you cannot personally lift it over your head, by yourself, then it's too damned big and should be checked.
        • Every airline I know that charges for baggage also has strict limits for carry-on.

          And they enforce them. Watching the Ryan Air baggage-nazi go along the queue with his/her luggage measuring box is one of my favorite moments when flying. Watch the smug looks turn to dismay when their overstuffed bags don't fit inside and they get dragged off to the desk to pay 40 pounds extra.

          What? You don't have a tape measure at home so you didn't know...? Yeah, right.

          • Yes, but normal airlines still include 1pcs of baggage in the ticket price.

            I wouldn't be surprised if RyanAir charged an additional fee on top of your ticket for using the airplane door to board the plane. Heck, they alraedy had extra fees for paying your bill!

            • I piece, so long as it fits in the test fixture provided and weights less than the 6kg or 10 kg limit (Airline specific). Some airlines allow a handbag or laptop, or camera in addition, but people have told me of being asked to put their laptop in their luggage this Christmas. (Europe)
              • So that 1 piece became in the end:

                1 small suitcase declared as hand luggage
                1 Laptop case
                1 Handbag
                1 coat with everything heavy stuffed into it to avoid weight limits for checked and hand baggage
                1 umbrella
                2 duty free bags
                airlines are sometimes rather lenient with that fragile but bulky souvenir you bought..

  • Illegal cartel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:30AM (#42402019)

    Amazon do personal pricing. They won't give you a price for some things unless you login. Then they give you a price that is the maximum they think you will pay. Other people see lower prices.

    The aim of personal pricing is to milk you for more money to maximize profit, not for some kind of altruism. It's all about 'how much can this customer pay right now for that item'.

    Now when companies get together to implement this, this is known as a price fixing cartel. It DOES NOT require them to have a fixed price, the mere act of agreeing to deceive customers on the price, is enough to be a crime under cartel acts. So if they're doing this because they've agreed to, then you look at price fixing cartel laws to see how to fix it.

    But make no mistake, when they won't tell you the price for something, its not for your benefit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Amazon do personal pricing. They won't give you a price for some things unless you login. Then they give you a price that is the maximum they think you will pay. Other people see lower prices.

      I seem to remember a huge stink being made over this something like 10 years ago... I think the price varied over which type of browser (mac/osx) was being used to view the page.

      Amazon recanted, apologized. Are they back to this again?

      Anyone have any suggestions for behavior that might get you on the "show the cheape

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:55AM (#42402095)

        I first noticed when I did a search for a media player, I clicked through and it refused to give me a price unless I logged in. I click the 'why we ask you to login' link and it made some kind of BS claim about customer service. I got my price.

        Then I then logged out, tried to create a new account, and tried again and got that *same* price (same IP, I think they're smarter about covering their tracks), so I then used a works proxy with a different IP address, and created a new account and was offered a cheaper price.

        They're still up to their old games, just better at hiding them.

        That was only a few months ago.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I seriously doubt that. This is your paranoia going further than reality.

          What you probably saw was an item with a minimum advertised price. The rule on those is often to only show you the price on an item that's been added to your cart. It has nothing to do with tailoring the price.

          If use of a proxy changed the price it was probably based on a geographic change.

          If Amazon were regularly showing different prices based on some kind of personal profiling, we'd certainly know about it. Thousands of sites referen

    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      Amazon do personal pricing. They won't give you a price for some things unless you login. Then they give you a price that is the maximum they think you will pay. Other people see lower prices.

      The articles talks about hidden fees, though (carry-ons, luggage, taxes, choosing a seat, etc.). Amazon does nothing to prevent you from comparing its price to the competitor's.

      For example, if Amazon sold you a laptop, but neglected to mention that a battery is not included and costs $100 extra (example chosen specifically to correspond to a carry-on fee. Yes, theoretically you can make do without any carry-on, but that is rare).

      How airlines get away with this (or with prices shown without taxes, when tax

    • It's only illegal if the feds decide to bust them for it.

    • Wow, an AC crackpot, how unusual.

    • The no-price-until-login thing is called MAP and it exists at most online stores. They're forced by the manufacturers to do this if they have a price lower than the 'minimum advertised price'. It's total horseshit, but they're forced.

  • by gaspyy ( 514539 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:43AM (#42402049)

    Reading the article, the companies are unhappy with the Transportation Department rule that requires them to include all taxes in their advertised rates because that rule "violate their free-speech rights".

    The "free speech" card is so abused nowadays that it will soon lose any meaning.

    • "The "free speech" card is so abused nowadays that it will soon lose any meaning."

      It never had any meaning. Corporations are not people. Hell, government has been regulating the supposed "right" of corporate speech all over the place for many years. Which makes that recent Supreme Court decision about campaign contributions nothing short of ludicrous. A clown show.

      • by Pecisk ( 688001 )

        Who cares?

        Main idea was to give conservatives and corporations their voice heard despite their decreasing popularity.

        If you elect SCOTUS judges by their political leaning, this is what you get - not really a fair judgement.

    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      The "free speech" card is so abused nowadays that it will soon lose any meaning.

      "Commercial speech" is generally understood to be different from "free speech". The airlines may have been somewhat emboldened by Citizens United, though.

    • Re:What worries me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by purpledinoz ( 573045 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @05:42AM (#42402471)
      In Europe, the price tag you see is what you pay. It makes so much sense. I don't care what the before tax price is. Hidden fees are illegal. This includes buying airline tickets. The North American system where you see some price, then have to guess what you will have to pay is arcane, bordering fraudulent. If you go to, I have to click through to the last step before actually purchasing the ticket to see what the real price is. Often the final price is double what was initially quoted. If I go to, the fees are already included in the price, so easy. I remember getting a mobile phone contract in Canada, where I was surprised to discover that the actual monthly price was significantly higher than what I was quoted, even though I specifically asked exactly what the final price after all fees was. I eventually switch to prepaid, because I hated the idea that the phone company can dictate what I have to pay, regardless of what I agreed to.
      • I live in Europe and that is not the case.
        Just look at Ryanair, a Europe only airlines, you see the price advertised for a low price however you you go and select it you see the addition costs for fee and taxes. Ok, select that now you get hit up for fees for not using their credit card, and if you want to check in luggage and a few other hidden fees. So so select all of those and purchase your ticket, now with all those hidden taxes and fees.
        Now you get the notification you have to do a self check in
        • True for Ryanair. But it's not legal, they have just been getting away with it for rather long.

          Re train tickets: Sounds as if you bought a ticket for local trains and a reservation for an express train. Depending on how you bought them, this could be either your own fault or the fault of whoever sold them to you.

      • Re:What worries me (Score:4, Interesting)

        by w_dragon ( 1802458 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @08:40AM (#42402941)
        No longer true for Air Canada. There is now legislation that the advertised price must be the full price for airline tickets in Canada.
    • This is what I really appreciate about Singapore Airlines. Quite some years ago they unilaterally decided to advertise only all-in prices, and they are still one of the few liners that do this (in Asia it's still common practice to advertise base rates, excluding all fuel surcharges and whatnot that easily add well in excess of 40% to the price, or was that 40% of the final price...).

      As a result their advertised rates look high, but at least no surprises there. I've always hated this practice of air fare ad

  • Warm and fuzzy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `ayertim'> on Thursday December 27, 2012 @03:45AM (#42402053)
    I always get a warm and fuzzy feeling about any company/industry, when I see notes like this:

    Airlines also have been cracking down on websites that help travelers manage their frequent flier accounts. The sites use travelers' frequent flier passwords to obtain balances and mileage expiration dates, and then display the information in a way that makes it easier for travelers to figure out when it makes more sense to buy a ticket or to use miles.

    There is not even a quote from airlines about "making it safer for passengers" or "providing the best service". I guess there is simply no way to spin this as a good thing for customers. A rare event indeed.

  • by girlinatrainingbra ( 2738457 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @04:33AM (#42402243)
    Once they see the contents of your wallet... they can adjust the prices they offer to you to maximize their intake of your cash and minimize those aforementioned contents of your wallet. That's the real key to profitability with personal pricing: find out how MUCH they are willing to pay for what they want. So it's only to their benefit to know how much money you're playing with (how good your credit is, how many other expensive things you've bought before, whether you're a customer they'd like to take on or someone they want to go away).
    There is NO benefit for customers from this at all that I can see.
    • I don't get this animosity towards price setting. It's been around since forever. The traders 10 000 years ago knew their individual customers well enough to sell at different prices, too. I understand that you want to pay as little as possible but what's wrong about any transaction that both parties willingly accept?

      It's not even bad for customers as a group. For instance, I can buy a Volkswagen Polo (in Europe) with basic equipment at a price with a minimal profit margin for VW because VW is selling the '

      • It is bad for the economy. It means that I have to spend extra time making sure that I am not spending more for an item than I need to. I may be willing to spend more for an airline ticket to a particular destination than you are, but if I end up spending that greater amount, that is money I do not have to spend on something else. The optimal pricing structure is one where merchants sell their goods at the same price to everyone and set that price at the lowest price that makes it worth their while to bring
        • but if I end up spending that greater amount, that is money I do not have to spend on something else

          Sure. But somebody else will get to spend that amount. Hopefully someone who is able to spend money more efficiently than you do. See how this works?

          The optimal pricing structure is one where merchants sell their goods at the same price to everyone and set that price at the lowest price that makes it worth their while to bring the goods to market.

          That sounds like what socialist economist in Karl Marx mold like to say. I'm not trying to offend you - you probably didn't even realize the similarity. The problem with this kind of thinking is that while it looks good on paper, it's impossible to realize in the real world.

          In the real world the prices are driven down by informed customers and inflated by unin

  • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @05:51AM (#42402485) Homepage
    What the summary talks about is something that could happen based on ideas from the trade industry that covers travel agency.
    Now the reason travel agencies are upset is because airlines are switching to a system where if you order your ticket from the airline web site you can purchase extra deals which are not available if you purchase some site like expedia or travelocity.
    For example one airline just switched to a system where for $68 you get a luggage check on, and you can change your date and time for no additional cost. If you purchased it through the travel agency site you just have the option to pay $50 for the check luggage and if you want to change date or time it costs $150. All prices USD.
    So in a way they are correct if people switch to using the airline web site to order tickets they will get to know your age, sex, address, email and travel history but the travel agencies are already collecting this.
    • For the few times I have to fly I often spend some time getting the best options.

      First check the aggregator sites for available flights/schedules, see which liners offer services, and direct or with change/stop-over.

      For regional flights, I'd also check the schedules of relevant airports to see if there are any other liners serving the route: sometimes gives more options, especially for the low-budget liners that are not listed on those aggregator sites.

      Decide which liners are most interesting, then check av

  • Set up a site and have people post what they paid or what they are being shown for a flight. Use transparency to see through their bull.
    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      Knowing that someone else paid less for a seat than the airline is offering the same seat to you for does what, exactly?

      I'm not sure if you know this or not, but every seat on the plane is dynamically priced, based in part on how full the plane is at the time you buy the ticket, how early you buy the ticket, what service you use to book the ticket, etc.

      Knowing what someone else paid for a ticket is an almost useless datapoint - do you imagine airlines will want to haggle with you to help you pay them less f

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

    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. :)

    • Friend of mine bought a cell phone in Munich and activated it in Monaco. The long and short of it is that both cities now work as local calls. So sometimes computer support issues actually do work to the advantage of the customer.
    • by quetwo ( 1203948 )

      I used to be in that class too. I flew at least 3 trips a week, 4 weeks a month. After the second year of less travel, they forget about you. I think I was only 20,000 miles away from "Diamond for Life", but the new job paid less (but I was home more!), and I didn't travel in time for the offer to expire. I now fly cattle-class all the time since you can't buy upgrades to business class unless you have gold or better status from that year.

  • Much of the info mentioned in the article is shit you make up when filling out profiles online anyway. So do that. Obviously you'll need your real name and probably your correct gender and approximate age if you don't want extra probing^Wscreening, but have a field day with everything else.

  • by rally2xs ( 1093023 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @07:18AM (#42402735)

    They just keep piling it on, adding reasons not to have anything to do with air travel.

    Having to pay big $$$ for parking at a lot that is still a 10 minute bus ride from the terminal
    Having to wait maybe 15 minutes for that bus
    Having to wait maybe 15 minutes for that bus at 24 degrees or 105 degrees
    Overpriced food at terminals
    TSA stealing stuff from your luggage
    TSA thinking they have the right to lay hands on you
    TSA thinking they have the right to x-ray you (only my Dr. and dentist...)
    Late planes
    Late planes when you have to catch a connection
    1/2 hr sprints thru big airports 'cuz your plane was late for the connection
    Lost luggage
    45 minutes to retrieve luggage after plane lands
    Arriving 2 hrs early 'cuz of TSA
    Narrow airplane seats
    Fees for blankets
    Fees for pillows
    Fees for food
    Fees for checked baggage
    Fees for carry on baggage
    Having to rent a car when you get there
    Paying for wi-fi in the airport

    Have given up flying for anyplace I can get to with my car. About the only good thing left about flying and airports is Cinnabon.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      well, the stupid airlines still want to fill their seats so they'll still shell tickets out through discount airfare ticket dealers.

      just buy through 'em and not fly in usa. buying direct through the airline is usually stupid anyways.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm an aircraft mechanic, in fairness some of that stuff you list is bogus.

      Late planes .... This stuff is physics and conditions, not a bus on a bus route. I have to say, flying wasn't meant for everyone. The only reason you THINK it is is cause of the nanny state laws.

      Mad about the TSA and snooping, Here's where we agree. And I don't blame ya. Fuck the airlines until the Constitution is restored. I miss having a runny nose because of burning fuel on the flight-line, I miss having jet engines taking t

  • The Solution is Dilution

    There is no quid pro quo for accuracy of the information (except in credit card data mining industry, and travel companies are already in that business). Easy enough to give bad data. Sure, there are things you cannot fake with air travel due to Homeland Security requirements. But we should all be in the habit of polluting our data at least a little bit. I change my birthday on almost every site, and the more sites that ask for my birthday, the greater my opportunity to pollute

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      I do have a grocery reward card, but I use one I found in the parking lot.

      Hey! I lost mine in the parking lot.

      Stop buying cheap beer.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @07:31AM (#42402765) Homepage

    So I am a 7'2" 120 pound jewish black man with a medical condition that makes me look like I am a short fat balding white guy that eats bacon.

  • So let me get this straight, airlines will offer discounts to customers it knows more about, and (potentially) no discounts to customers it knows nothing about? And the problem is...

    They have put a value to your personal information and are giving consumers a choice - share your personal info, save some money OR keep your personal info private and don't.

    What's wrong with allowing customers to 'opt in' for savings at the cost of their annonymity? If they didn't allow you to 'opt in' but forced you to share p

  • The airlines oppose honest business practices. This seems to be why they are opposed to making it easier for the consumer to make an informed decision. If they are so opposed to honest business practices, it is all the more reason to pass regulation.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @09:01AM (#42403005) Homepage Journal

    What the value of everyone knowing what you buy actually is. If the supermarket and the airline and everyone else knows I own a dog and drive an old Camry I'm not sure what anyone thinks the spam/value-add of all of that is. As it is, most people already throw away most junk mail and junk email unopened. And since the airlines themselves never actually give discounts, just complex fee-add schemes, it's not as if they're going to successfully market to people based on that. It's not as if they're going to take an 'extra' trip to Florida this year because your quadruple platinum diamond intergalactic admiral club membership is going to waive that $25 checked bag fee. I just don't see it. I think the airlines were sold a bill of goods by marketing consultants and now they're going to create complex expensive systems that, as always, don't do anything to keep them out of bankruptcy like they do every 3 or 4 years.

    • by mosch ( 204 )
      Airlines make all their profit from a tiny sliver of their customer-base who decide to be brand loyal.

      The airlines themselves are always going bankrupt because it's nearly perfect competition. Most people just buy the cheapest ticket from A to B, with no second thoughts. These programs help create a small number of customers who fly a specific airline or alliance, which gives them a slight edge.

      I won't take an extra trip because I'm Premier 1K, but it does make me more likely to book on United t
  • The airline industry has operated in a cartel-like fashion for as long as I can remember. The whole hub and spoke system is designed to limit your choices by carving up the market nice and neat among the major carriers. Southwest tried to upend this with competitive pricing and was successful for a while until they got frozen out of landing rights at the major airports (ex. Love Field in Dallas rather than DFW, Midway rather than O'Hare in Chicago).

    The airlines are one of the only businesses I can think of

  • Give me your best fare or I'll fly with your competitor.

    Please folks, let's remember that we still have the right to tell corporations to fuck off. We don't have to play their game and it's important to make every purchase a strategic one.

    Shop mindfully.

    • My thoughts exactly. If you know my arrival and departure information and you know you competitors prices, then knowing my favorite color is probably not going to do you much good as the airline. Although, I do think that they can use this information to gouge business travellers, because I have seen a lot of people stay loyal to a certain airline in order to get more frequent flier rewards. Since they are not flying on their own dime, they often do not care it it costs more. These are the targets for this

    • Absolutely, our best fare is only $49.99 + Fees. Compare that to the competition! SouthWest charges $79.99 + Extras, and American Airlines charges a staggering $149.99 + Charges. And don't even talk about Delta, $159.99 + Mandatory Service Costs!

      What, you're going to go with Commodore Airlines, who charge $39.99+RND(1)*100? We'll match that!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Stay home. No, seriously. Stay home. Think about it: no TSA, no lines, no having a fat person sitting in half of your lap the whole trip, no screaming kids, no rude flight attendents, no loss of personal information along with all your clothes, and best of all no giving 1/2 a months pay to fly somewhere where I'll spend at least just as much while I'm there. If I staycation for the next 10 years I can retire 2 years earlier. Why would I want to travel? Let some other stupid schmuck see the world. Tha

  • by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @11:42AM (#42403983)
    This isn't about personal data concerning your bank balance or your religion - It's about saving your personal preferences so the systems can tailor a ticket price for you. For example, I'm a frequent business traveller with Elite status. My profile -

    - I'm Canadian
    - Try to fly carriers in the Star Alliance
    - Flew 65K miles last year
    - Rarely cross an ocean
    - Star Alliance Gold passenger
    - Prefer one-stop (or less routings)
    - Credit point to Air Canada Aeroplan
    - Always fly economy
    - Sometimes purchase upgrade to Economy Plus on United
    - Rarely check bags
    - Always sit at the window
    - Like to sit forward of the wing
    - Usually fly out of YVR, sometimes tempted by BLI
    - Don't like transiting YYZ

    ...this is about allowing me to create that profile so when I ask for a ticket price these details are taken into account and there are no 'suprises' in the price.

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.