SEARCH

Entries in FareLock (1)

Monday
Dec132010

Continental Airlines Introduces New Fee to Hold Airfare

Photo Courtesy - United Continental Airlines(NEW YORK) -- It looks like the airline industry has found a new fee to squeeze some extra cash out of the flying public: the rate lock fee. Continental Airlines on Monday afternoon announced "FareLock," a new service which allows passengers to pay fees starting at $5, and rising to $9 or more, to hold a seat at a given price as a hedge against rising airfare. The price can vary depending on the itinerary and other factors.

Continental, which merged with United Airlines but is still operating as a separate airline, is the first carrier to offer such a service but, as with baggage fees, expect the rest of the industry to soon follow Continental's lead.

Continental, Delta, United and other airlines currently allow customers to get a full refund on any ticket within 24 hours of purchase. Some travelers take advantage of the system by booking, canceling the next day and then rebooking to ensure the best fare. American Airlines currently allows customers to hold a ticket -- and the fare -- for 24 hours for free.

Continental said that, for now, it won't abandon its 24-hour cancellation policy and that its new FareLock just gives travelers more options and more time to decide.

Customers may choose FareLock when booking reservations at continental.com and opt for a 72-hour or a seven-day hold. They may return to complete the transaction at any time between purchasing the lock and its expiration, or they may choose an auto-ticketing feature which tickets at the end of the lock period, the company said. FareLock fees, beginning at $5 for a 72-hour hold and $9 for a seven-day hold, will vary based on a number of factors such as the itinerary, number of days to departure and the length of the hold. While tickets can still be canceled with 24 hours, the FareLock fee is non-refundable.

Fees are big business for the airlines. The Department of Transportation on Monday revealed that Delta Air Lines collected the most fees of any of the U.S. carriers, hauling in $1.26 billion in fees so far this year, Neidl noted. United/Continental was second with $922 million followed by $784 million collected by American. Neidl said that even though Southwest does not charge for the first two checked bags, it still collected $22.5 million in fees for third bags and overweight bags.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio