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Airline Scum
Via Consumerist, airlines just petitioned the government to be able to advertise their prices with "fuel surcharges" in small print below. So, a $139 ticket would actually cost you, maybe $179. Luckily, there's somebody at the Transportation Department who isn't being blown by lobbyists. John Hughes writes for Bloomberg:

U.S. airlines were rejected in their attempt to list fuel charges separate from fares in ads, as the government said the current approach protects consumers.

The Transportation Department in December said it would consider loosening 22-year-old advertising rules as U.S. air carriers struggled with record fuel costs. The carriers' trade group, the Air Transport Association, had requested the change.

"We have concluded that the public interest will best be served by our maintaining the status quo," the department said in a decision Tuesday in Washington.

I was shocked the other day when I got the bill for Fedexing my book proposal to my agent in New York: $40.42! And for afternoon delivery! I looked at the back and the actual package delivery cost was $32.75, but they'd added $2.10 for residential delivery (his office is in an apartment building), and then...$5.57 as a "fuel surcharge"!

That's a 17% fuel surcharge. Okay, so I understand gas prices have gone up, and those FedEx trucks aren't exactly hybrids, but one little package, $5.57? And in Manhattan? It isn't like nobody else has a package they overnighted 53rd and Park.

Posted by aalkon at September 21, 2006 9:10 AM

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