Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio July
By Sarah J.F. Braley
WHAT'S FAIR ABOUT AIRFARES?
Survey reveals frustration over airline pricing&The best
places to buy travel on the Web
Start making sense. In May, the Radnor,
Pa.-based Business Travel Coalition (www.btctravelogue.com) initiated a study to learn how the
frequent business traveler views the current state of the airline
industry. The BTC, whose mission is to influence public policy in
the business travel industry on behalf of the consumer, surveyed
403 people who purchase a minimum of 12 roundtrip airline tickets a
year. The results revealed a dissatisfied group of flyers who are
particularly frustrated with the arbitrary way airline tickets are
priced. Half of the respondents do not understand the process; 33
percent “somewhat” understand how airlines price tickets, and only
17 percent completely understand it. Fully 87 percent do not
embrace the airfare structure.
Among other findings, 73 percent cited expensive airfares as an
important or very important reason for continued cutbacks in air
travel this year. In fact, 39 percent of those surveyed have
replaced some airline travel with trips by car or train.
In all, about 37 percent of respondents said they haven’t lost
confidence in the reliability of the U.S. air transportation
system, while 46 percent have lost some confidence.
Online caveat emptor. Consumer Reports Travel
Letter’s June 2002 edition, in conjunction with the company’s new
partner, Consumer WebWatch, examined the six largest online travel
sites to see which ones give the best quotes and service.
Comparing Cheap Tickets (web.cheaptickets.com), Expedia (www.expedia.com),
OneTravel (www.onetravel.com), Orbitz (www.orbitz.com), TravelNow
(www.travelnow.com) and Travelocity (www.travelocity.com),
the consumer watchdogs concluded that travelers need to comparison
shop to get the best rates, then check with Southwest Airlines’ Web
site for deals, since its fares are not represented on any of the
The study did conclude that while Expedia had the most low
fares, Travelocity offered the best low fares with viable flight
choices, as well as the best booking tools. For customer service
and privacy and security policies, again Expedia and Travelocity
excelled. Orbitz also scored well but was consistently edged out by
the other two.
Citing the technological superiority of the top three Web sites,
CRTL did not recommend the smaller sites at all, unless a flyer is
looking for deeply discounted and nonrefundable fares.
The newsletter is available to PC users from NewsStand (www.newsstand.com) for
$3.95; a yearly subscription costs $29.
Miles to go. Want to make your best offer for a
vacation package? Better yet, how about bidding those unused
airline miles? Continental Airlines and eBay now allow Continental
OnePass members to bid on sporting events, VIP performing arts
experiences and Continental Airlines Vacations using frequent flyer
miles. The goods are posted online at www.continental.ebaytravel.com.
Among the items available on June 10 were tickets to Britney
Spears concerts and a suite at Cleveland’s Jacobs Field for a game
between the Indians and the New York Yankees. Continental Vacations
packages also are up for bid on eBay’s travel site (www.ebaytravel.com)
for purchase with cash.
City bests. New from DK Publishing are
Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides ($9.95; www.dk.com), featuring the best a city has to
offer. For instance, in the London edition, the guide lists the top
10 exhibits at the British Museum, 10 ways to experience royal
London, 10 great walks and itineraries, the 10 best hotels for
every budget and more.
In addition to London, the series includes guides to Barcelona,
Berlin, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, New York, Orlando, Paris, Provence
and the Côte d’Azure, Rome, Tuscany and Venice. The company plans
to publish six new titles each quarter.
Back to Current Issue indexM&C
| Events Calendar
| Incentive News
| Meetings Market ReportEditorial
| CVB Links
| Reader Survey
| Hot Dates
| Contact M&C