Airlines take you sky high

Do your own research when travelling.

Those of you who do as much flying as I do you will be familiar with all the tricks the airlines use to get more money out of your pocket. 

Those of you who don’t believe that happens, search Google for information on a class action lawsuit launched against almost all major U.S. airlines for collusion, some of which have already settled for astronomical amounts of money.

That was simply for collusion, there is also price gouging which happens on a regular basis. 

I had to fly to New York this week for business and just before I left, I had a request for a meeting in Mexico City. Fair enough. We deemed it important enough to switch my schedule around. 

I had a return ticket to New York in the bag, so I did some research using some websites that are very helpful and one apparently top secret website.

What I discovered quite quickly was that if I booked a trip to Mexico City and then back to my home destination, it was a lot of money. More than I was prepared to pay.

Instead, I looked at a one-way fare for each leg and it was almost half of the originally quoted cost.

That is a small clue if you travel regularly. Yield management on airlines ensures that it is difficult to find where the savings might be hidden, so do your homework. 

After spending 30 minutes researching, I called my loyal flyers hotline with my airline and explained my situation.

I asked to book a leg to Mexico City and a separate leg back to Spokane. At first the client service rep had a hard time figuring out that I need to cancel my return leg from New York. She was trying to change it.

She came up with a price that was way above what I had seen, so I explained that it was more advantageous to me to cancel my flight home and re-book. 

She argued initially, but then agreed to cancel the leg. By now, we were 30 minutes in to the conversation already. Finally, she gave me a price for a trip from New York to Mexico City.

It was three times the price of my original round trip ticket to New York. I explained that I had three websites open and all were showing a value of about 20 per cent of her quote.

She grumbled and indicated that I must have access to a very special website. I indicated that it was simply Google flights showing me their airline pricing for a one-way ticket. 

In frustration, she recommended that I book the ticket that way, even though I have a very high status with the airline.

So I gave in and said check the Mexico to Spokane for me. She came back with a price for a one way ticket of $2,300. At this point I explained that I can fly first class to Europe for that price and did she not think that was a little strange.

She explained that it was all her system was showing her. How was I getting my pricing of $400?

She suggested I use my very special website, that must be top secret to get my pricing. I advised her that the top secret website was her airline website. 

Now, she had to save face, so said she was taking the issue higher to the overseas booking desk who could get us a better price with their very fancy top secret booking system. 

After another 30 minutes on hold, she came back and said they had confirmed that the best price ticket I could get from their airline would be $2,300. 

I thanked her for a her time and said I would book it. 

Ten minutes later, I had two one-way tickets booked for $500US total rather than $3,500 she would liked to have charged me. 

Exactly how many people on any given week are taken for a ride in more ways than one by the airlines in North America!

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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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