Did you hear the recent report about Delta Airlines overcharging some of its own frequent fliers?
While it's a bit of a black eye for Delta, it's also a lesson for everyone who every travels by air, not just Delta customers.
Airline Website: Usually Low Fare
When you're booking a flight, airlines have conditioned us to believe you are always getting the lowest current fare when you book directly on their website. In Delta's case that means Delta.com.
"Most of the time I just go to Delta's website because we have American Express and we use it to get SkyMiles for Delta," said Diana Kraus of Fairfield, Ohio.
Several Delta frequent fliers we spoke with at the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport told me they rarely check other sites.
"I exclusively go to Delta's website, just because its so much more convenient, and as a frequent traveler, you want the mileage," said Jeremy Rickarts of Pleasant Ridge. "I trust they are giving the best fare."
But Delta now admits publicly that during a 19-day period this spring, some of its SkyMiles members were paying higher fares. In some cases, news reports say, they paid several hundred dollars more than travelers who searched Delta.com without using a SkyMiles number.
Delta, in its official blog, blames a glitch in its new computer system, and says it has been corrected.
But it's an eye opener to travelers who've always assumed frequent fliers are quoted the best prices.
"That's a big surprise. Obviously you would think the frequent customer would get the discount, if anything," said Shane Weaver of Hebron, Ky.
Lesson for Other Travelers
You're may be saying "I'm not a SkyMiles member, so this doesn't affect me." However, there's really a good lesson in here for anyone who ever travels by air.
Whether you fly once a week or once a year, it's good to just double check your fare quote.
You can plug in your travel dates at aggregator sites like Expedia or Travelocity, just to make sure another airline is not offering a much lower price.
But for just comparing costs, check Kayak.com. It does not sell tickets, and simply lists all the current fares to your destination. That way you'll know if your fare is really "fair."
The bottom line: Even if you never fly Delta, and don't belong to anyone's frequent flier program, its still a good idea to comparison price any trip at more than one website.
As always, don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
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