Q&A: American's Bankruptcy, Bag Fees, Porn on Planes and More

Questions, do I get questions. Here are six of my recent favorites.

1. American Airlines is dropping routes – are my tickets still good?

I’m holding AA tickets of my own and I’m not worried. Yes, the airline is changing; it’s cutting jobs and streamlining its route system – and you can stay up with route changes here.  However, the airline is changing; it is streamlining.

If you discover your route is targeted for cancelation, contact the airline immediately to get where you need to fly.

2. A lot of airlines seem to be going out of business – why?

Blame it on the high cost of oil – at least in part. This is one reason why you read about so many airlines buying new, fuel-efficient planes – it will help keep costs down. Meanwhile, do not confuse the demise of Spain’s Spanair or the collapse of Hungary’s Malev with American’s bankruptcy. I fully expect the U.S. carrier to emerge from Chapter 11 in better shape.

3. Why is Spirit Airlines so angry about the new fee transparency rules?

Like all airlines, they’re tired of being taxed so heavily, more so than other industries. Plus, it means we flyers get to see ‘fully loaded’ airfare prices right from the start, as opposed to those low ‘teaser’ rates which did not include all mandatory taxes and fees. In other words, Spirit can no longer advertise its famous $9 fares.

4. Why doesn’t everyone pay the same price for a ticket?

Because airlines know they can charge more depending on when you buy. For example, a last-minute business traveler who must fly is generally willing to pay top dollar. Leisure travelers who plan ahead have the luxury of taking advantage of sales. Shopping on Tuesday is another was to game the airfare system and find the cheapest flights. When you fly matters, too – the cheapest seats are usually available on Tuesdays, Wednesday and sometimes Saturdays.

See Rick’s 5 Best Tips for Finding Cheap Flights Every Time You Shop

5. My seatmate watched porn on his laptop – should I have yelled at him?

And risk getting kicked off the plane? No. If a stern look gets you nowhere, press the call button. Flight attendants are trained to diffuse such situations, and yes, they are empowered to order porn-watchers to turn it off.

6. Are bag fees going to disappear anytime soon?

Are you kidding me? U.S. airlines made about billions of dollars each year from bag fees. You may hear about legislation to allow one free checked-bag per person, but I don’t think it’ll happen.

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Q&A: Cheap Flights, Porn on Planes and Other Travel FAQs

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Published: February 9, 2012