Airline fare Comparisoncomparisons of fares
What could happen to the comparison of prices?
Passengers are finding it more and more challenging to check the costs of a trip against different airline companies because airline companies are charging additional costs for luggage and at the same time add other paid benefits such as complimentary seats and Wi-Fi during the trip. An initiative for government regulation to make it easy for travellers to make comparisons when making purchases could involve requiring airline companies to exchange information on tariffs and charges with on-line tour operators such as Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity.
However, airline operators resist and say they have the right to choose which company to work with when selling. Whilst on-line tour operators can help airline operators sell more seats, airline operators also see them as intermediaries who benefit from the products they sell - and lower prices as a result of increasing competitive pricing.
"What is going on is that they are obstructing rivalry by obstructing comparison," said Kurt Ebenhoch, managing partner of Air Travel Fairness, an interest group that represents tour operators. Whilst many travellers want to find the cheapest fare, airlines like Delta Air Lines do not want to be likened to other airlines that are only fare driven.
They are afraid that this would lead to a downward spiral. Instead, Delta and other large airlines want to win clients who are willing to spend more for more comfort, such as additional legroom on Delta, free check-in luggage on Southwest, Sky Clubs, Flight Wi-Fi, sockets and meal or drink choices.
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation under the Obama administration launched a lawsuit to obtain official opinions on this subject and determine whether to harm the consumer if airline companies limit where their flight and fares are quoted. However, he admitted that the airline companies "exert a lot of pressure" to end the operation.
In addition, Trump Administrator strives to minimize compliance and not just adding more. In December 2017, for example, the DOT refused to oblige airline companies to introduce rules to improve the level of luggage charge openness. In order to clarify the ruling to revoke the suggested ordinances, the DOT quoted its own rulings and the administration's rulings, along with Trump's execution order early adopted in his government to cut back the ordinance.
It is a privileged situation for the airline companies. "The declaration states that all companies, as well as airline companies, need the liberty to decide with which third party they do business" and how they want to promote and distribute their wares. However, airline companies want to buy more through their own sites than through third party vendors - so they can have more complete visibility over sales, collect more information about travelers' travel preference and offer packages or a la cartte selling choices they are developing.
In recent years Delta has deducted its rates from a number of smaller on-line holiday websites. Southwest Airlines, the number 2 in Atlanta, has for years not been offering ticket sales via websites such as Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity. Southwest, located in Dallas, said that a key part of its operations is a direct-to-consumer approach, and its policy of no luggage fees and no modification fees is "made possible only through making sales directly and exclusive through Southwest.com".
Thais Hanson, Southwestern spokesperson, said in a pamphlet statement: "Many on-line tour pages are rewarding airline companies that carry Ni and Dim passenger because they only match basic rates and do not correctly reveal charges. "She added that Southwest believes it would hurt the consumer if the German government regulates how a company sells its wares.
However, the Atlanta Business League in a 2016 note from US Vice President Leona Barr-Davenport to Transport Minister endorsed Southwest's argument, saying that the Dallas-based airline's choice to offer direct sales to the consumer is a choice that will help them. "She added that on-line tour operators "often levy charges that raise the consumer's avarage cost" and can offer preferred placements to those carriers that are paying higher charges.
At Delta, Crawford said the airline was working with retailers and on-line tour operators, but said these third party operators would need to increase their investment in advertising to show more choices for different fare levels.