Podcast: Saving on Airline Tickets

A former airline executive explains how to fly on the cheap.

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For this week's Alpha Consumer Podcast, I interviewed Tom Romary, chief executive of Yapta.com, which helps consumers track the ups and downs of airline ticket prices and get refunds when their purchased tickets become cheaper. As a former vice president at Alaska Airlines, he also gives us an inside look at what's happening to the industry, and how we can navigate—and avoid—some of the price hikes.

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Here are three of his tips:

  • Consider the total cost of the trip, not just the ticket. Because airlines now charge for so many add-ons, from food to baggage check to changed itineraries, consumers should factor in all those costs in advance, and expect to pay them.
    • Know your refund rights. Most airlines give refunds to customers who have already purchased tickets when the price drops, but only if you purchased the ticket directly from the airline itself.
      • Think of all the extra charges as a good thing. They mean a lower ticket price, so each customer pays for only what he wants.
      • You can also get the Alpha Consumer Tip of the Week on saving money while buying wine.