February 9th, 2014, 12:24 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: A Southern Gentleman (Southern California)
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
I have to disagree on the voucher issue... the "oh, but your reservation was cancelled, but we didn't tell you, and we have physical possession of your voucher" would definitely fall into the "what's the catch" category when the time came for me to check in to my flight.
Being very honest - this subject was brought up by me because I have been running into a lot of salespeople lately who seem to believe it is OK to let the customer believe everything is fine even when it is not. Now, I have been running into this more with other things lately, but I am interested in seeing how it plays out in travel.
I just wrote an article about cruise line "Choice Air" type programs where they lead you to believe they will take care of your costs if you miss the ship because your flight is cancelled. They will make phone calls for you and try to get you rebooked, but any ancillary costs are your responsibility.
The unrevealed tax & fees are not as bad as the luggage costs with the airlines - the latter are never figured into the base price they show you when booking the ticket.
With a cruise you do see the taxes & fees before you make the final purchase - but not until that point. It does make a big difference, say if you thinking about either Mexico or Alaska. Alaska taxes & fees are usually much higher.
Knowing your rights and the penalties imposed by the FAA will better help flyers navigate the system. I will post details on a later thread.
To address the issue of Tax & Government fees, the Panama Canal cruises are among the highest!
The up-side, you can see the expansion of the canal in progress, Thank you Panama.
Here is an issue the cruise lines and airlines reserve. The right to charge a fuel surcharge, read the fine print on terms & conditions of the surcharge basis, if the cost of fuel is based on a specific market per barrel. verify that market rate & the cost of a barrel before booking and at time of flight, if you see that the cost is higher, then be prepared to pay the added cost or don't get upset on the added cost at check-in.
Cruise lines want return customers, they use discretion, however, the so-called discount airlines flying with-in Europe are notorious for adding the fuel surcharges and the penalties for over weight luggage can be 50% of the total ticket price. So learn the conversion between kilo's and pounds! TIP of the day, use a carry-on, if you need to reduce weight, really.
Fair warning about airport taxes and Government fees, Both Heathrow & Gatwick in London have huge added cost for government tax & fees, Frankfurt is third in ranking. I checked a flight departing Rome on Lufthansa to Frankfurt (lay-over) at Heathrow in London then direct to LAX, The taxes/fees one way were $174 US dollars.
Point being, always look at NON-STOP Flights "Point A to Point B".
Many online discounters will display direct flights, This is deceiving and most frequent flyers know so, Airlines & online discounters avoid to mention a lay-over or they use the term "aircraft change" which increases your Government fees/taxes and add hours on your travel time.
This mainly applies to West Coast departures to Europe in most cases, The East Coast Airports usually don't have this issue.
Example: Lufthansa has NON-Stop flights from LAX & San Francisco to Frankfurt Germany.
Lufthansa has entered new equipment in Los Angeles (LAX) the new "Dreamliner = Boeing 787" & the new 747-800 series, which is expanded an additional 16 feet from the last 747 version.
I use SEAT GURU to check aircraft "equipment" and seating, It will give you the details on every seat including electrical plugs, entertainment, WiFi access, cell phone use and on-time performances of route.
San Francisco (SFO) has the Airbus A380-800, worlds largest passenger liner.
Lufthansa uses these aircraft on there NON-STOP flights on both routes.
Non-stop is around 11.5 hours.
Direct can be around 16 + hours, pending your lay-over time
US Airways has a flight through from LAX to Rome with a lay-over in North Carolina, the taxes & fees in North Carolina are around $23.00 one way.
If you fly through Washington DC to Rome using "Dulles" expect to pay around $86.00 one way