How to Avoid Getting Hosed Buying Discount First Class Tickets and a New Idea for Uber

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Really easy entry in my giveaway of 2 business class tickets to celebrate Air Serbia’s launch of service to the US!

  • The New York Times asks will Brexit get you a better deal to Europe? I point out deals to Europe have been uncommonly good already.

    Current deals, said Gary Leff, the author of the travel blog, are “a function of some growth in capacity and some of the ultra-low-cost seats on carriers like Norwegian. And it’s what we all expected, with some lag, due to lower fuel prices. It’s been inexpensive, and now it’s inexpensive to be there, thanks to the currency.”

  • Brian Sumers reports that Southwest says they are reluctant to follow other large US airlines in seeking greater revenue from customer segmentation. While they’ll soon have the software to do preassigned seating, and thus charge more for premium seats, they’re reluctant to make such a move right away.

    Of course, Southwest does already charge more for premium seats through early boarding. Without assigned seats the prime seats go to those who board first, and full fare passengers and those who pay a premium for early boarding get an earlier boarding group than those who simply pounce on checking in as early as possible.

  • If you buy a discount first class fare that’s ‘coach with a free upgrade to first’ and then you’re downgraded and want to be able to dispute a portion of the charge with your credit card company you want to have contemporaneous proof of what coach would have cost for your flight.

    If an airline stonewalls your attempt to get a refund, appealing to your credit card company may not work. The credit card firms frequently say they can’t issue a partial refund unless they know the difference between the price you paid and the cost of the coach seat. And not any coach seat, they say, but the price of a coach seat on the same day you purchased the premium class ticket that the airline refused to honor.

  • Uber is promoting having drivers run errands for you when you’re not in the car, such as picking up a phone you left at a friends house and bringing it to you.

  • And this is why we can’t have nice things.

  • Bloody $%*#! Anthony Bourdain’s New York City hawker stall project now won’t open until 2019. I’m likely to be hungry before then.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I doubt the Bourdain project will ever open. There seems to be something more at play than simply “visas for vendors.”

  2. Really not an acceptable solution for the first class downgrading problem. If I was worried about money, I wouldn’t have bought the first class ticket in the first place. I need space to put my feet up and not have people pushing on me. I’m no longer in a place healthwise where I can tolerate the shoving and kicking that comes with being much smaller than the average adult. If for some reason the seat I bought is not available on that flight, they should re-accommodate me on a later flight where it is available. Putting someone in economy and keeping their money is fraud, pure and simple. No other word for it. And it should be prosecuted as such if it is actually occurring. The airlines would need to pay a penalty because otherwise they would have a huge incentive to sell overpriced tix they have no serious intention of honoring. But…

    It doesn’t seem like this guy is actually citing any real stories, just “I’ve heard this.” Can this really be happening in 2016? Any links to actual experiences? Seems like bad business for airlines to let these stories of paid bix tix being downgraded go unchallenged because any time there’s uncertainty you’re going to lose sales.

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