Low-Price Airfare Is One Big Hassle

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The web was supposed to make buying cheap airline tickets easier. So, why isn’t it? We’ll look at the tricky tangle of air travel.

A Southwest Airlines passenger plane crosses the waxing gibbous moon in Whittier, Saturday, May 30, 2015.  (AP)
A Southwest Airlines passenger plane crosses the waxing gibbous moon in Whittier, Saturday, May 30, 2015. (AP)


Jack Nicas, aviation industry reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@jacknicas)

George Hobica, nationally syndicated travel columnist and founder of (@airfarewatchdog) (Producer's note: George wrote a blog post on direct-ticket purchasing for us here.)

Brett Snyder, founder and author of the airline industry blog, President and founder of Cranky Concierge. (@crankyflier)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Travel Websites Allege Delta Air Lines Is Shutting Them Out — "A group of travel websites claims that Delta Air Lines Inc. is cutting them and their users off from its data, adding to industry tensions over the way consumers shop for flights on the Internet. Delta has removed its schedule and fare information from over a dozen sites, including TripAdvisor Inc., Hipmunk Inc. and, saying it didn’t authorize the sites to use its data, according to a report to be released on Wednesday by the Travel Technology Association, a trade group for the sites."

Marketplace: How to catch a flash sale before it's over — "A flash sale can entice consumers, make a brand or a restaurant seem exclusive and crowded, or force a potential buyer to stop procrastinating and spend. Take the Groupon example: as the clock ticks down on a deal, the number of buyers climbs. With limited time and limited number of offers, a deal might seem more exclusive. A restaurant might begin to look more popular, and the influx of customers can do a business good."

The Cranky Flyer: Lufthansa Group Airlines Are Going to Charge You if You Don’t Book Directly, and That’s a Big Mistake — "Fights between airlines and reservation systems are as old as time. Global Distribution Systems (GDSes) have held the upper hand for years, and because of that, they charge the airlines a lot of money for every booking. Airlines, consequently, are always looking for ways to bring costs down by taking bookings directly. (For those want to know more, you can read my distribution series.) Lufthansa Group and its airlines (besides Lufthansa itself, this includes Austrian, Brussels, and Swiss) have decided to hit hard by slapping a fee of 16 euros on every ticket issued in a GDS starting in September. That may sound smart, but it brings a lot of collateral damage with it. This may make sense in the future, but for now it’s a big mistake."

TSA Security Flaws Expose Big Protection Gaps

Bart Jansen, transportation reporter for USA Today. (@ganjansen)

USA Today: TSA closing loopholes in screening aviation workers for terror links — "The Transportation Security Administration, which repeatedly screens 2 million airport workers, didn't identify 73 workers potentially associated with terrorism, according to a watchdog report Monday. The problem was that TSA checks airline and airport applicants and workers against a Department of Homeland Security watch list that isn't as comprehensive as the government's terrorist database, according to the department's inspector general."

This program aired on June 10, 2015.


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