Travelers have used the Internet to search for the best deals on air fares for years. That ability to comparison shop has cost the carriers tens of billions of dollars in unrealized revenue.
Now, the airlines are striking back -- and it's costing passengers in terms of dollars and privacy.
Airlines are offering add-on services like premium seating, early boarding, baggage fees, baggage-delivery fees and more, but they're not providing that information to online ticketing services like Kayak, Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity. That makes it harder for shoppers to find the best deal.
“What other industry can you think of where a person buying a product doesn’t know how much it’s going to cost even after he’s done at the checkout counter?” Simon Gros tells The Associated Press. Gros is the chairman of the Travel Technology Association.
The result of such "fee confusion" is “the greater opportunity you have to get to higher prices,” Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, tells the AP.
More alarming is the fact that U.S. airlines are moving relentlessly toward forcing passengers to provide more and more private information before they can buy a ticket.
If you do need to fly, there still are ways to minimize your ticket price. Click here for some helpful tips.