May 10, 2013 | Kendall Creighton Up, Up and Away Airline fees: Average True Ticket Price Up Nearly 30 Percent Tuesday, May 7, 2013 Baggage fees brought U.S. airlines in 2011 a total of $3.4 bill The average true price of a one-way ticket has increased by nearly 30% since 2008, according to a study by Boyd Group International. The data also notes that a “low cost” carrier at an airport does little to lower overall fares. The average one-way fare, including federal fees and taxes, increased to $219.50 in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 12.5% from 2008. However, the real cost is up 29.1%, due to airlines charging for commonly-used and previously-free services. So consider your airfare as just the down-payment. The ancillary fees for bag checking, early boarding, ‘preferred’ seating, etc., adds approximately 15% on average to the base fare of a one-way trip. Last week, Frontier Airlines became the latest airline to add new fees, saying that it will charge customers who did not book directly through its website for carry-on bags and drinks. Some airlines gouge passengers before they even step foot on a plane. Virgin America, for instance, will charge flyers $20 for a mailed copy of their itineraries. Spirit charges $10 for boarding passes printed by an airport agent. “Clearly this is an attempt to raise air fares under the search engine radar,” said Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights. “Such deceptively priced “low air fares” need to be published with these extraordinary baggage and drink fees included, due to the fact that the vast majority of passengers have either carry on or checked baggage and need hydration. At the very least, Frontier and Spirit Airlines no baggage fares should be published with an asterisk * next to them.” “A bare & dry air fare may not be the end,” Hudson continued. “Other rumored airline fee gimmicks include pay toilets, stand up seating, passenger weight premiums and the still undercover all nude & fresh air specials!” Seriously, FlyersRights may have to request rulings by the DOT. The question is when do “extra” fees reach the point that they intrude on core air travel services, amount to unlawful “deceptive or unfair” marketing and pricing practices or are even unsafe. What do you think? Email us at Paul@flyersrights.org. Cut It Out Photo by Paul Hudson, who spoke at the Flight Attendants press conference and rally at DCA, April 24, 2013. A lawsuit was filed Monday by The Association of Flight Attendants, FlyersRights, and seven other aviation associations to fight against TSA’s plans to allow knives in the passenger cabins. The coalition also includes flight attendants, gate agents, pilots, law enforcement and passengers. The 9/11 Commission Report noted that the Al Qaeda hijackers used knives to kill several flight attendants and the pilots on all four hijacked flights, that were then used to kill nearly 3,000 by destroying the World Trade Center and damaging the Pentagon. The FAA in 2001 did not prohibit knives with blades under four inches because a) they did not consider them dangerous, b) some local laws permitted carrying knives, and c) they were hard to detect so banning them could slow down security screening, Others have suggested that allowing knives will raise the consistently poor performance test scores of screeners and thereby make the TSA look better. The 9/11 hijackers were also reported to have trained killing sheep with pocket knives and were well aware of the lax FAA policies on permitting small knives. Read more at: noknivesonplanes.com. Ernest Emerson, the maker of tactical knives popular with military and law enforcement, is rumored to be modifying his Hummingbird blade to be TSA-compliant. Emerson advertises this knife as the one you’d want if you get the call, “Let’s roll”. The petition makes five critical points: — Permitting knives in the cabin is an unnecessary risk to the traveling public and violates the Administrator’s duty as set out by Congress. A TSA-approved knife could be used to stab or kill a passenger, crew member, federal air marshal or TSA Security Officer by a terrorist, mentally ill person or drug or alcohol-impaired passenger. A TSA-approved knife could be used to hijack a plane. — It would be irresponsible to relax the TSA’s existing policy on knives when virtually every organization representing those directly affected by the change adamantly oppose it on safety and security grounds. — Federal regulations currently ban all weapons on airplanes and in airport secure areas, and a knife is a weapon. — TSA’s argument for the change is false. TSA says the change would bring the US in line with the international standard for knives. There is no international standard for knives: Canada, Israel and Taiwan – to name a few – ban knives on planes. — One of the nation’s foremost experts on knives provides testimony stating TSA training and procedures will not allow officers to detect locking blades without direct examination. This means security lines would slow and officers at airport checkpoints would be distracted from searching for firearms and explosives. The organizations signing the petition are: The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (flight attendants at 20 airlines, including United and US Airways) The American Federation of Government Employees (TSA Security Officers) The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (American Airlines flight attendants) The Allied Pilots Association (American Airlines pilots) The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (federal Air Marshals) FlyersRights.org (largest airline passenger organization) The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (largest aviation union, including flight attendants and gate agents) The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (thousands of aviation workers including flight attendants at Republic) The Transport Workers Union (thousands of aviation workers including Southwest flight attendants) The Petition was supported by expert testimony from: John Bonner – Assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Served with the FBI including providing counterterrorism training to the Iraqi police and military in Baghdad and Fallujah, Iraq. His long list of security credentials includes Instructor at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., certified as a Law Enforcement Officer by the State of Florida, and participation in FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Bernard Levine – Recognized as one of the world’s leading knife experts with more than four decades of experience. His books include four editions of the standard reference work in the field of knives and knife identification, as well as Pocketknives, a Collector’s Guide and Identifying Pocketknives. His business website is www.knife-expert.com. Jon Adler – President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officer Assoication, a decorated officer, certified tactcal instructor, and an executive board member of the DHS Federal Law Enforcement Advisory Board. He was also a first responder at Ground Zero on 9/11. Paul Hudson – Current President of FlyersRights.org, an aviation attorney and a member of the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee. Paul was also on the FAA/TSA Aviation Security Advisory Committees and the President of Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie as well as several other public policy committees and a published author on passenger aviation security. FlyersRights’ Partnerships Flybag™ – the must-have TSA-compliant toiletry kit for the efficient traveler. Enter code: ISTILLFLY and you’ll receive one dollar off AND another dollar will be donated to FlyersRights! Visit FlyBags.com. Check out the FlyersRights wine shop! You can’t miss with any of these great wines! Final Word! Paul Hudson, FlyersRights President Kate Hanni, Founding Member, FlyersRights Founded by Kate Hanni in 2007, FlyersRights is funded completely through donations and our Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) charity, to which contributions are tax deductible. Thank you for your continued support!