More transparency in airline pricing

Disaggregation meets disclosure in the world of air travel:

The airlines are aware that customers shop around online and that they hate trying to figure out fees. So they are currently working with other ticket distributors on a complex system that (Rick Seaney, the chief executive of FareCompare.com) said will expand the fee checklists and allow all distributors, whether an airline itself or an online travel agency, to be more uniformly precise in just what a customer is ordering.

“They’ll present a base ticket price in three or four categories, and then you’ll have a bunch of things you can add,” Mr. Seaney said. “You’ll get a base price quote, and then you’ll have a bunch of columns with choices that add something to the ticket. You going to see a whole new slew of amenities that you pay for in advance.”

…(And airline fare pricing) committee is evaluating the universe of fee-based extra services, and drawing up lists of uniform codes to make it easier to “compare apples to apples,” Mr. Seaney said. Among the items on that growing list are the usual things like prepaid checked bag (code 0AA), snack (0AT), aisle seat exit row (0A5), beverage (0AX), video games (0AF), passenger assistance (0BY) and wheelchair (0AH).

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