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OCEAN CITY, MAR YLAND The perfect setting for your nextReunion!

Oceanfront at 28th Street ~ One Block from Boardwalk!

ALL Guestrooms are Oceanfront with Private Balcony! Oceanfront Restaurant & Lounge  Heated Pool & Jacuzzi Complimentary Morning Coffee and Afternoon Tea

Complimentary Hospitality Suite  Complimentary Meeting Space Full Service Catering  Casino Ocean Downs nearby!

Relax. Refresh. Renew!


Call Group Sales

While many of your attendees drive to the r eunion, sometimes the location is such that it really is better to arrive by air. There are even a number of

locations where air is almost mandatory.

Rising fuel prices combined with a reluctance to raise fares has caused the air lines to institute a variety of extra charges, in most cases for services that were previously included with the stated fare. In this regard, they merely emulated what hotels have been doing for the past decade or so with a variety of hotel room surcharges.

Among airlines, the leading proponent of extra charges is Spirit Airlines. They profess to be the “people’s” airline by advertising rather low fares. Their pitch is essentially that you should not have to pay for something you do not want. As an avowed Libertarian, I do not take issue with their right to charge anything they want, in any way they want; I also profess my right to not use their airline.

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The U.S. government has taken a different tack. The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) has decided to regulate. Accordingly, new rules have been issued to force airlines to advertise the total price including all mandatory per passenger fees and taxes. The effect has been to make it appear that air fares have suddenly jumped. This may turn some people off, but it surely is more realistic. My son, two years ago, caught a “cheap” flight from Chattanooga to Fort Lauderdale. The flight was advertised at only $29, bout wound up actually costing $108. Under the new rules, this no longer can be the case!

On the other hand, most of the additional charges that air travelers incur are still not included. Most of the add-on costs are listed as “optional.” This includes the biggest extra dollar generator for airlines, baggage charges.

The airlines do not escape totally free, however, because the DOT has decided to regulate in this area also. Unfortunately, the people who work at the DOT are not always very smart, and the end result may be more confusing. Nevertheless, the airlines must now (since February 1) disclose

the fact that there will be additional fees for baggage at the time of any quote, and also, print the schedule on the e-ticket receipt.

One slight victory for the consumer is the elimination of automatic “opt- in” fees. You cannot be charged unless you accept such charges.

Maybe this will end the surprise that an RFN executive got a few months ago. She asked for a glass of water to take her medicine, and was charged $2 for a half glass of water.

While the DOT imposed changes are welcome, because we believe it forces airlines to conduct their business in a more ethical manner, we deplore the intrusion on our right, and the rights of those who run the airlines, as misguided as it might be, to conduct their business by government dictatorship.

There is no problem or objection if the government wants to enforce safety regulations, but intruding and dictating the manner in which a business can quote prices is a curtailment of our freedom. R EUNION F R IENDL Y N EWS • Spring, 2012 Crowne Plaza Austin — The Place to Meet

We would be honored to have you as our guest! Shelly Staff - Group Sales Manager • Direct: (512) 371-5243

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