While We're Discussing Fee-Free Cards, Here's One That Charges No ATM Fees

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/21/2013, 8:30 AM

Arthur Frommer recently let you know about the United Plus Explorer card, which waives the foreign transaction fee the way the famous Capital One suite of cards does. That card (in which, I stress, Frommer's has no financial interest) is described in his blog post. But that's for a credit card. What about cards linked to savings accounts, which let you draw money you actually have rather t...

Confused About Navigating the Airport? One of Them Will Take $80 to Guide You Through It

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/21/2013, 8:30 AM

More and more, airlines stand to make a lot more money when airports do their jobs inefficiently. Last month, I told you about how one airline at JFK was raking in fees for instant security-line upgrades when the TSA failed to process passengers quickly. Now, airport management itself is finding a way to cash in. Manchester, England just completed a pilot program charging customers £50, or...

Plan Ahead or Do It On the Spot: The Conundrum of Modern Vacations

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/05/2013, 3:30 PM

United Airlines caused a stir two days ago when it announced that travelers could now “subscribe” to its fees. Pay one lump sum in advance—$349, so that’s one big lump sum actually!—and you’ll be able to carry on your luggage “free” for the next year. Oh, wait, no, that amount was just for one bag checked. If you need to check two bags, the fee goes up to $399.  To guarantee a seat in “economy...

The Airlines Sometimes Profit when the TSA Does its Job Inefficiently

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 05/20/2013, 2:00 PM

On Saturday morning at JFK, the line for passengers to have their I.D.s inspected by the Transportation Security Administration was extraordinarily long, and the lines to go through the actual checkpoints were just as awful. The person checking passengers' tickets at the entrance to the whole mess did not work for the TSA, and he heard person after person exclaim that they were unlikely to mak...

Airlines Make You Miserable to Maximize Profits, And It's Unfair to the Crew

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 05/07/2013, 1:45 AM

On U.S. Airways, boarding announcements are like a comedy sketch. Gone are the days when getting on a plane was a simple matter of passengers who need extra time, then first class, then everyone else. Nowadays, it's a ridiculously confusing, hard-to-hear, multi-tiered hierarchy of status level members, credit card holders, fare class purchasers, and beyond that, umpteen "zones". At U.S. A...

United Jacks its Change fee to $200. What's the Real Cost?

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 04/24/2013, 1:00 PM

Is the $200 change fee coming? No, it's already here. United is the first airline to jack up the fee it charges to passengers who need to amend their domestic travel plans. Now it'll hit you for $200 to tweak your flight plans. Until April 18, the fee was $150, already very high, which means the company hiked its penalty by a third.  Other airlines are expected to follow suit. Thanks, ...

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