28 October 2008

The Airline “Scam” of Bait and Switch

A frequent airline traveler has seen this scenario: one day, a great deal for an airfare is posted online and the traveler naturally quickly tries to reserve them. But when the payment and confirmation page comes out, the price just increased twice the original fare originally listed online. It’s a scheme of bait and switch of airlines to entice you to purchase a ticket with the new airfare. And they’re not the only accomplice as online travel agencies also have a hand in tricking travelers into purchasing an expensive airline ticket.

The sad news is, travelers have to contend with this practice. Airlines and online travel agencies protect their claim by using words such as “for as low as” or “travel with rates as low as…”. These are gray phrases wherein they only claim that they MIGHT give you the fare they advertise but they can’t really guarantee them.

That is why it is important to stop and read everything before you enter your credit card information online. They will tell you if the price has increased and you’ll be given an option to go ahead with the transaction.

If you want to completely avoid this type of inconvenience, book your next flight the traditional way – get in touch with the airline through phone or book a flight with a travel agent. The bait and switch could still happen but you have a travel agent who will give you options. Instead of browsing online again for prices and routes just to save on airfare, your travel agent will look for an alternative on your behalf.

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