Q&A: Cheap Flights, Porn on Planes and Other Travel FAQs

PHOTO: What do you do if the person sitting next to you on the plane is watching porn on his laptop?

From questions about how to find the cheapest airfare to dealing with porn on planes, well, I've heard them all.

These are some of my favorites, and I hope one of my answers will solve a question of your own.

For more travel news and insights view Rick's blog at farecompare.com

Q. What's going on with American Airlines pulling out of cities? Should I worry about the tickets I bought for my summer vacation?

A. No. I'm holding several AA tickets of my own and I'm not concerned in the least. Evidently my fellow travelers weren't concerned either as American reported a 1.4 percent increase in flyers this January compared to January 2011. However, the airline is changing; it is streamlining.

WHAT TO KNOW
  • From questions about 'how to find the cheapest airfare' to dealing with 'porn on planes', well, I've heard them all.
  • These are some of my favorites, and I hope one of my answers will solve a question of your own.

Certainly it was hard to miss the screaming headlines about 13,000 employees facing the axe, and that is terribly sad. For flyers, this'll mean some changes including route cutbacks. American flights out of Burbank will soon disappear, plus the airline's Chicago to Delhi, India, run will soon be cut, among others. This is just a start. At FareCompare, we are constantly updating a list of discontinued AA routes, but note that some of these changes were decided on before bankruptcy came into the picture.

If you have concerns that your route is targeted (and any route could be fair game outside of the biggest cities), don't wait for an email or call from American. Keep up with the news and stay in touch with the airline. They don't want to lose you as a customer especially now and will work with you to get you where you need to go. And this is true if you have concerns about your loyalty miles, too, but we have yet to see a single bankrupt U.S. airline undo any of those coveted programs.

Q. There sure seem to be a lot of airlines shutting down lately. What's going on?

A. What's going on is the high cost of oil coupled with worldwide economic turmoil. It's at least partly why a couple of smallish, financially troubled European carriers could not make a go of it including Spain's Spanair and Hungary's Malev. Do not confuse what happened to these carriers with American's bankruptcy. I expect the U.S. carrier to emerge from the process as a leaner and stronger company with the possibility of a merger partner.

Q. The new airfare advertising rules that force airlines to include all taxes and fees in published prices confuse me. Some think they're great, but some think they stink. What's the truth?

A. The truth is Spirit Airlines is perturbed because they can no longer advertise their iconic $9 airfares since the overall price including taxes and fees is significantly higher than nine bucks.

Other airlines are worried we'll buy fewer tickets when we (subliminally) notice that the previous $59 one-way sale price plastered across airwaves and digital media is now $70. It isn't so much $59 seats taking us where we wanted to go were hard to find. Airlines are more concerned now that we might not even make the effort to get a quote.

Spirit claims the government is forcing them to hide taxes and fees from passengers, but I personally find the new regulations a refreshing dose of transparency. So-called teaser fares did a good job of obscuring the full cost of a ticket and now you know what you'll pay right from the start. Spirit's latest response to all this? A new $2 fee.

I do however agree with the airlines that they are being singled out compared to many other industries which don't have don't have to do an upfront disclosure on whopping taxes - especially on big ticket items - so let's see some full disclosure rules there as well.

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