New Airfare Advertising Regulations: Helping Shoppers Find Cheap Airfare

If you’ve been disappointed by a great airfare deal that turns out to be much more expensive when you get to the end of the booking process, you’re not alone. Unless you shop at FareCompare – where we always show the full prices from the start, taxes included – you may get the nasty surprise of a truly bloated airfare. That’s going to change.

Listen as I chat with Editor Anne McDermott about why these changes are driving the airlines crazy (plus check out the video at the end):

Despite Some Confusion, New Ad Regulations Will Begin as Scheduled

New Full Fare Ads Start Jan. 26

Starting Jan. 26, everyone who offers publicly-advertised airfares, including airlines and ticket sellers, will have to follow our lead thanks to new requirements mandated by the Department of Transportation that says publicly advertised airfare must include all taxes.

What New Ad Requirements Do for Airfare Shoppers

Comparing prices will get easier. Seeing the full price of a fare when you shop makes it easier to compare prices, apples to apples, so to speak. However, advertised prices can be show ‘each-way’ and if so, just double the cost to get the round-trip total.

No nasty surprises. No more guessing at what those taxes will add up to while you work your way through the booking process – you’ll know what you’ll need to pay every step of the way. However, this ‘total’ price will not include optional fees like checked-bags, though you will be shown what these costs are during the booking process should you decide to avail yourself of these ‘extras’ and you can add or discard them accordingly.

What New Ad Requirements Don’t Do for Airfare Shoppers

You still have to play the airfare game to win. The airlines are in business to make money, and they want you to pay as much as possible for your flights. The new advertising regulations will not change that.

Nor will the new advertising regulations change the fact that the cheapest seats in airline sales are limited; all the DOT demands on that score is that “a reasonable number of seats” be included in a sale, and that’s generally understood to be about 10 percent of the seats on the plane. When those are gone, so are the cheap prices.

Tips for Shoppers: Finding Cheap Flights

This where the great tips and expert advice from FareCompare comes in. I suggest you start with our 5 Best Tips to Find Cheap Flights which covers all the basics including the best day to shop to find the cheapest prices, the cheapest days to fly, and much more.

Check this out – my interview on NBC TV in Dallas:

View more videos at:

More from Rick Seaney:

Regulation Almost Levels the Airfare Shopping Field


Published: January 11, 2012