×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Give Us Your Personal Data Or Pay Full Fare

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the name-and-blood-type dept.

Privacy 342

ebh writes "Noted in an AP story about how fees make it difficult to compare air travel costs, is how the airline industry is moving toward tailoring offer packages (and presumably, fares) for individuals based on their personal information. Worse, 'The airline association said consumers who choose not to supply personal information would still be able to see fares and purchase tickets, though consumer advocates said those fares would probably be at the "rack rate" — the travel industry's term for full price, before any discounts.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

342 comments

so... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42401961)

We've established the nature of the relationship, we're now just haggling over the cost...

Or, principles are expensive...

  How many data mining tokens er loyalty cards are in your wallet?

Re:so... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402187)

"How many data mining tokens er loyalty cards are in your wallet?"

A bit different, the prices (before and after discount) are known beforehand, I choose to use only when I have some personal gain to make (get a discount on stuff I buy).

To answer you question directly: one. It's an anonymous card for the local supermarket chain. It has been swapped around a bit with other persons across the country, who like to distort profile building.

Re:so... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402213)

We're really worried about optional grocery profiling for reduced prices?

If only for laughs, please give us the rationale for this extreme brand of paranoia.

Re:so... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402281)

Practice makes perfect ?

Re:so... (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#42402617)

If it wasn't being used for something, it wouldn't be the price to get less expensive groceries.

Also, do you want to be the house showing up in a database as always ordering lots of "middle eastern" food? Or the house always buying lots of food that your insurer may not like you consuming, like chips and soda? Or the house buying lots of alcohol that your car insurer might like to know about? I mean, what -- do you really think they're keeping all your data just to mail you the weekly flyer that they're going to send to every house *anyway*, as "current resident"?

Re:so... (2)

the_bard17 (626642) | about a year ago | (#42402923)

Or the house buying lots of alcohol that your car insurer might like to know about?

They should be happy that I'm drinking at home, versus driving to a bar...

Re:so... (5, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42402985)

If it wasn't being used for something, it wouldn't be the price to get less expensive groceries.

I thought it was mostly used to put the things you buy at opposite ends of the store so you have to walk past all the other stuff every time you go there.

Re:so... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42403043)

groceries aren't less expensive. to strongarm ppl into giving up their data the supermarkets made the loyalty price the normal price and the normal price is now just a total ripoff.

good thing supermarkets give you loyalty cards on-site so all the information you put on the form can be false. every 6 months or so get a new card under a new identity. pay with cash.

Re:so... (2)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#42402849)

Did it occur to anyone to LIE about their personal information? Make up a paper man? Eliminate personal snooping as a barrier?

Re:so... (2)

knarf (34928) | about a year ago | (#42402939)

Did it occur to anyone to LIE about their personal information? Make up a paper man? Eliminate personal snooping as a barrier?

While that would work for a supermarket loyalty card, it is rather hard to do when you actually want to use the tickets you buy through them since the data on the tickets would not match that on your passport. As you know you have to show a passport (or similar ID token) before you board an airplane to ward off the evil terrorists. That this also happens to make it impossible to resell tickets is of course nothing but an 'unlucky' side-effect...

In Australia this has been handled legislatively (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42401963)

In Australia this has been mostly fixed legislatively under the 'component pricing' laws. [accc.gov.au]

Component pricing is advertising a price in its component parts rather than as a single figure, and can create an impression that a product is being offered for sale at a lower price than it actually is. The [legislation requires] that if you choose to use component pricing in advertisements, you must also provide consumers with a prominent single total price for goods and services, as they are able to be quantified at that time.

The single price means the minimum total cost that is able to be quantified (or calculated) at the time of making the representation.

You must include in the single price any:

  • * charges of any desciption payable by a consumer to purchase the good or service (e.g. administration fees, compulsory services charges, booking fees)
  • * taxes, duties, fees, levies or charges payable by the consumer for the supply of the good or service (e.g. goods and services tax or sales tax).

Re:In Australia this has been handled legislativel (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#42402117)

The single price means the minimum total cost that is able to be quantified (or calculated) at the time of making the representation.

That's all well and good for taxes, but what about

  • luggage
  • carry-on
  • choosing a seat
  • better seat (extra leg room, emergency exit, etc)
  • priority lane

You could argue that these are not necessities (thus the law you quote does not apply). But I would say that a carry-on charge, for example, really pushes the line of "necessity".

Re:In Australia this has been handled legislativel (1)

Tacticus.v1 (1102137) | about a year ago | (#42402429)

I don't know of an airline in .au (other than weight challenged ones) that charge for carry-on.
though the rest of your issues are quite valid. prices advertised are usually ones without checked luggage. Choosing a seat in advance of check in (when booking) is extra, Better seats are extra, upfront seats are better (i don't see how these are better when flying the cheaper airlines as they typically do fore and aft boarding)
priority lanes are also not included

Re:In Australia this has been handled legislativel (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42402993)

I don't know of an airline in .au (other than weight challenged ones) that charge for carry-on.

Nor in Europe. Not even Ryan Air.

Re:In Australia this has been handled legislativel (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#42402501)

Did you ever see what people cram into the cabin just to avoid luggage fees? I'd love to see a fee for people travelling WITHOUT checked baggage and give an incentive to get all that baggage where it belongs - in the cargo area!

Re:In Australia this has been handled legislativel (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402691)

I travel light. I don't have the time to wait for luggage once I get to my destination, and don't care much for not having my luggage out of sight, getting lost, etc. If you're going to make this rule, make stricter rules about the amount you can carry on board. I'm fine with a single cabin class bag + my laptop.

Re:In Australia this has been handled legislativel (3, Insightful)

berberine (1001975) | about a year ago | (#42403087)

I don't know why people are modding you down because you are right. All through the 80s and 90s when I flew, your carryon was limited to very specific size measurements. I had a rucksack that I could take when I flew to The Netherlands, but, every single time, upon return, KLM's carryon sizes were smaller. Occasionally, if the flight was not full, they'd let me take it on, but most of the time it had to be checked.

The last time I flew (Denver to New York) the carryon luggage was the size of regular luggage and I saw people literally punching the bags to fit into the overhead bin. I had a backpack and my netbook, both of which fit right under the seat in front of me. Somewhere along the lines, they just started letting people take whatever they wanted into the cabin and now they're forced to deal with it because it's become a huge issue.

Like you, I don't like my stuff out of my sight. I pack extremely light because of this. A good rule of thumb for people taking on carryon luggage, if you cannot personally lift it over your head, by yourself, then it's too damned big and should be checked.

Re:In Australia this has been handled legislativel (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#42403023)

Every airline I know that charges for baggage also has strict limits for carry-on.

And they enforce them. Watching the Ryan Air baggage-nazi go along the queue with his/her luggage measuring box is one of my favorite moments when flying. Watch the smug looks turn to dismay when their overstuffed bags don't fit inside and they get dragged off to the desk to pay 40 pounds extra.

What? You don't have a tape measure at home so you didn't know...? Yeah, right.

Re:In Australia this has been handled legislativel (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#42403111)

Yes, but normal airlines still include 1pcs of baggage in the ticket price.

I wouldn't be surprised if RyanAir charged an additional fee on top of your ticket for using the airplane door to board the plane. Heck, they alraedy had extra fees for paying your bill!

Re:In Australia this has been handled legislativel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402609)

That doesn't sound like it would fix the credit card "fee" problem, popularised by RyanAir.

Illegal cartel (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402019)

Amazon do personal pricing. They won't give you a price for some things unless you login. Then they give you a price that is the maximum they think you will pay. Other people see lower prices.

The aim of personal pricing is to milk you for more money to maximize profit, not for some kind of altruism. It's all about 'how much can this customer pay right now for that item'.

Now when companies get together to implement this, this is known as a price fixing cartel. It DOES NOT require them to have a fixed price, the mere act of agreeing to deceive customers on the price, is enough to be a crime under cartel acts. So if they're doing this because they've agreed to, then you look at price fixing cartel laws to see how to fix it.

But make no mistake, when they won't tell you the price for something, its not for your benefit.

Re:Illegal cartel (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402043)

Amazon do personal pricing. They won't give you a price for some things unless you login. Then they give you a price that is the maximum they think you will pay. Other people see lower prices.

I seem to remember a huge stink being made over this something like 10 years ago... I think the price varied over which type of browser (mac/osx) was being used to view the page.

Amazon recanted, apologized. Are they back to this again?

Anyone have any suggestions for behavior that might get you on the "show the cheapest price" list? And with the airlines, same question.

Re:Illegal cartel (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402061)

I think it was much more recent than that, and it invovled "deals" found via Bing (aka Bing was the referer).

Yes Amazon do this *currently* (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402095)

I first noticed when I did a search for a media player, I clicked through and it refused to give me a price unless I logged in. I click the 'why we ask you to login' link and it made some kind of BS claim about customer service. I got my price.

Then I then logged out, tried to create a new account, and tried again and got that *same* price (same IP, I think they're smarter about covering their tracks), so I then used a works proxy with a different IP address, and created a new account and was offered a cheaper price.

They're still up to their old games, just better at hiding them.

That was only a few months ago.

Re:Yes Amazon do this *currently* (1)

Lord Maud'Dib (611577) | about a year ago | (#42402185)

So why do you continue to use their site? This to me is the beginning of the end of online purchases...

I don't now (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402323)

Well of course having detected I was being ripped off I stopped using Amazon. Most people won't be able to see alternate prices for an item, so they'll never know the reason they were required to log-in was to be offered an inflated price compared to others.

I think the same is true of this airline scam. HOWEVER, the main difference here, is the airlines via it's association are showing clear signs of cooperation on this, which is a strong indicator of cartel activity.

It's not like one of them has just decided to go alone on this, it's that their airline association is declaring this.

That has CARTEL written all over it.

Re:Yes Amazon do this *currently* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402743)

So why do you continue to use their site? This to me is the beginning of the end of online purchases...

I am using their site because ...
- they accept foreign issued credit cards
- they accept that shipping address can be different than billing address (you know, some people do travel)
- they ship to other places than "lower 48 states"
others ...
- do not allow to view their store from foreign IP address
- shipping goods within the state paid by foreign credit card consider foreign transaction

Amazon is fine for me. I am not purchasing their DRM-ed ebooks that is all.

Re:Yes Amazon do this *currently* (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402431)

I seriously doubt that. This is your paranoia going further than reality.

What you probably saw was an item with a minimum advertised price. The rule on those is often to only show you the price on an item that's been added to your cart. It has nothing to do with tailoring the price.

If use of a proxy changed the price it was probably based on a geographic change.

If Amazon were regularly showing different prices based on some kind of personal profiling, we'd certainly know about it. Thousands of sites reference Amazon prices on individual products every single day, and there's never any mismatch.

Re:Yes Amazon do this *currently* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42403179)

Nope, I tried and found the same with Amazon. I checked it on a few major sites after getting "weird" results when shopping around for travel insurance.

Re:Yes Amazon does this *currently* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402623)

Use Tor when shopping, and create a new account every time. It's not like accounts cost you money. They'll know it's you when you use your credit card to pay, anyway. When customer loyalty is repaid by ripping you off, fight back.

Re:Yes Amazon does this *currently* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42403057)

...by continuing to give them money. Very effective. /sarcasm

Re:Yes Amazon do this *currently* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402809)

Or your proxy was in a different state/country which affected the pricing. Of course, you could also just be lying, but I'll take you for your word...

Re:Illegal cartel (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402063)

what are you smoking? Amazon does not do personal pricing. Everybody sees the same price for the same product at the same time. They change prices over time on that same product. But the price is not personalized. I haven't seen the hidden prices that require a login because I'm always logged in, but I'm guessing this is to prevent robots from scraping the price off the product page when there's a "sale".

Re:Illegal cartel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402527)

I saw two prices on Amazon for the same thing, I don't believe a 'sale' was declared between price one and two. As for the 'need to log-in to see prices' to prevent robots scraping, why would you care? Any competitor would simply set up a few fake customer accounts to scrape their site, and if your prices are competitive why would you care if scrapers know this? If you can be undercut, then your hiding a higher price than the market price.

I wasn't going to use their site again, but next time they show up in searches, I'll video the process and stick it on YouTube.

As for this airlines, well they're obviously also trying to hide an inflated price for a ticket. Not from competitors, because competitors can simple spent the time to inquire as pretend customers. Only Joe Sixpack won't be able to get the proper price up front, because he won't be able to go through all the airlines registration procedures to get the cheapest.

The involvement of the Airline Association is a big red flag here, if I had the cheapest ticket, why wouldn't I want to show Six-Pack up front and make the sale? Why would you make him jump through hoops before you show him you have the cheapest price? You'd risk losing the sale! And when they say we'll show a more expensive ticket if they don't log in.... so, they're all getting together and agreeing to show an inflated price, that they KNOW is an inflated price, and have all agreed to show an inflated price!

How is that not a cartel price fixing? If one of them had done it, well that's just company 'R' being a dick, but if they all agree to do it, that's a cartel.

Re:Illegal cartel (1)

grumbel (592662) | about a year ago | (#42402719)

I saw two prices on Amazon for the same thing

Are you sure it was the same entry in their catalog? Amazon is full of duplicate entries for the same product and many of them have different prices. That seems however more an error on their side then ill intend. Other then that, Amazon also frequently changes prices, for some products it can happen multiple times a day, so it's easy to see the same product with different price or even change the price while browsing their site. It might even go so far that viewing or placing the item in your shopping cart can change the price, but if that was just coincidence or actually is how their algorithm works is just speculation.

Re:Illegal cartel (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#42402081)

Amazon do personal pricing. They won't give you a price for some things unless you login. Then they give you a price that is the maximum they think you will pay. Other people see lower prices.

The articles talks about hidden fees, though (carry-ons, luggage, taxes, choosing a seat, etc.). Amazon does nothing to prevent you from comparing its price to the competitor's.

For example, if Amazon sold you a laptop, but neglected to mention that a battery is not included and costs $100 extra (example chosen specifically to correspond to a carry-on fee. Yes, theoretically you can make do without any carry-on, but that is rare).

How airlines get away with this (or with prices shown without taxes, when taxes were never a constant) is a mystery to me. This should have been made illegal a long time ago!

Re:Illegal cartel (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402153)

Car dealers have been doing this for decades. The advertised price is almost always without the freight/shipping/delivery fee which is already included in the MSRP sticker price, without the dealer "doc" or documentation fee which is a 100% made up fee. Often times, the price may also include some random number for a down payment. Example is advertised price shows $19775 but in the fine print somewhere it says with a $5000 down payment. I'm waiting for the day where they just advertise the price of some new car as only $500 but in the extreme fine print, mention that price is only if you put $35,650 down. All of these fees are usually disclosed but in some really small fine print somewhere.

Of all of the above, I don't know which is worse, the freight fee or the doc fee or the money down thing. They all seme to piss me off for different reasons.

Re:Illegal cartel (4, Informative)

Lord Maud'Dib (611577) | about a year ago | (#42402201)

As a previous poster has already stated, Australia has managed this under consumer protection laws. All new cars and motorcycles must list the full on-road cost of the vehicle.

Amazon does personal (inflated) pricing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402175)

A cartel requires cooperation between companies that should be competitors, but actually agree to mutually rip off customers. Amazon DOES rip off customers with inflated prices, but that's not illegal unless its a cartel.

" Amazon does nothing to prevent you from comparing its price to the competitor's."

Yes it does, watch for the occasions when it puts up a "you need to log-in to see the price" text. Those times, you're seeing a personal price. It's not that they offer a *cheaper* price just to you, because people looking for the cheapest price don't hang around to login, they're the ones you wouldn't try to get to log-in. It's that this item can be price inflated as its quite difficult to get hold of, and if you're looking on Amazon then you haven't found a supplier, so bend over and prepared to take it up the Amazon.

I think the only new twist here, is that just clearing cookies and trying to create a new account didn't fix the inflated price, I had to go through a proxy to see a cheaper price.

I think airlines were investigated in EU for that fees trick, I don't know what became of that.

Don't do it bro. (1, Offtopic)

mynis01 (2448882) | about a year ago | (#42402039)

My biggest concern is that if I supply them with my PI, I might not receive the obligatory junk touching.

What worries me (2)

gaspyy (514539) | about a year ago | (#42402049)

Reading the article, the companies are unhappy with the Transportation Department rule that requires them to include all taxes in their advertised rates because that rule "violate their free-speech rights".

The "free speech" card is so abused nowadays that it will soon lose any meaning.

Re:What worries me (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#42402125)

"The "free speech" card is so abused nowadays that it will soon lose any meaning."

It never had any meaning. Corporations are not people. Hell, government has been regulating the supposed "right" of corporate speech all over the place for many years. Which makes that recent Supreme Court decision about campaign contributions nothing short of ludicrous. A clown show.

Re:What worries me (1)

Pecisk (688001) | about a year ago | (#42403053)

Who cares?

Main idea was to give conservatives and corporations their voice heard despite their decreasing popularity.

If you elect SCOTUS judges by their political leaning, this is what you get - not really a fair judgement.

Re:What worries me (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#42402143)

The "free speech" card is so abused nowadays that it will soon lose any meaning.

"Commercial speech" is generally understood to be different from "free speech". The airlines may have been somewhat emboldened by Citizens United, though.

Re:What worries me (5, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | about a year ago | (#42402471)

In Europe, the price tag you see is what you pay. It makes so much sense. I don't care what the before tax price is. Hidden fees are illegal. This includes buying airline tickets. The North American system where you see some price, then have to guess what you will have to pay is arcane, bordering fraudulent. If you go to aircanada.com, I have to click through to the last step before actually purchasing the ticket to see what the real price is. Often the final price is double what was initially quoted. If I go to lufthansa.com, the fees are already included in the price, so easy. I remember getting a mobile phone contract in Canada, where I was surprised to discover that the actual monthly price was significantly higher than what I was quoted, even though I specifically asked exactly what the final price after all fees was. I eventually switch to prepaid, because I hated the idea that the phone company can dictate what I have to pay, regardless of what I agreed to.

Re:What worries me (2)

will_die (586523) | about a year ago | (#42402535)

I live in Europe and that is not the case.
Just look at Ryanair, a Europe only airlines, you see the price advertised for a low price however you you go and select it you see the addition costs for fee and taxes. Ok, select that now you get hit up for fees for not using their credit card, and if you want to check in luggage and a few other hidden fees. So so select all of those and purchase your ticket, now with all those hidden taxes and fees.
Now you get the notification you have to do a self check in on-line, and if you don't do that a few days before the flight they are going to charge you an extra fee to check in at the airport.
Also had it happen on the train. Purchased a ticket and reservation and when they came through I had to pay an extra fee for being on an express train, never mind I already had the ticket and a reservation. If I did not want to pay this hidden extra cost I would be ejected at the next stop and they would reissue me tickets for the next non-express train.

Re:What worries me (1)

Hans Adler (2446464) | about a year ago | (#42403167)

True for Ryanair. But it's not legal, they have just been getting away with it for rather long.

Re train tickets: Sounds as if you bought a ticket for local trains and a reservation for an express train. Depending on how you bought them, this could be either your own fault or the fault of whoever sold them to you.

Re:What worries me (3, Interesting)

w_dragon (1802458) | about a year ago | (#42402941)

No longer true for Air Canada. There is now legislation that the advertised price must be the full price for airline tickets in Canada.

Re:What worries me (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#42403145)

This is what I really appreciate about Singapore Airlines. Quite some years ago they unilaterally decided to advertise only all-in prices, and they are still one of the few liners that do this (in Asia it's still common practice to advertise base rates, excluding all fuel surcharges and whatnot that easily add well in excess of 40% to the price, or was that 40% of the final price...).

As a result their advertised rates look high, but at least no surprises there. I've always hated this practice of air fare advertising - especially with those fuel surcharges and so nowadays.

Warm and fuzzy (4, Interesting)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#42402053)

I always get a warm and fuzzy feeling about any company/industry, when I see notes like this:

Airlines also have been cracking down on websites that help travelers manage their frequent flier accounts. The sites use travelers' frequent flier passwords to obtain balances and mileage expiration dates, and then display the information in a way that makes it easier for travelers to figure out when it makes more sense to buy a ticket or to use miles.

There is not even a quote from airlines about "making it safer for passengers" or "providing the best service". I guess there is simply no way to spin this as a good thing for customers. A rare event indeed.

I see no reason to comply, unless ... (1)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year ago | (#42402065)

If I currently receive a discount, and they're simply removing my discount (or making it contingent on providing excessive personal information), then I'll be opting out of those airlines.

If, on the other hand, they're just asking for the same data that most free online services request, and are using that information to keep prices lower ... that's fine by me. I mean, I want to control my data - but I also don't mind selling the same set of information to several different sources for a price reduction at each source.

Re:I see no reason to comply, unless ... (1)

theM_xl (760570) | about a year ago | (#42402347)

I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite store on the Citadel...

Re:I see no reason to comply, unless ... (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year ago | (#42402757)

I hated that mealy-mouthed bullshit so much the first time around that on subsequent playthroughs I always just menaced the shopkeepers into giving me a discount instead.

What a huge surpise (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#42402083)

If you don't send us your tax forms, how badly you want to travel, etc, how will we know how you and/or your business can afford to pay us to transport you there?

Sounds a great deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402123)

If we don't have anything to conceal, so why not give these information ?

Video [youtube.com]

F*** the travel industry (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402127)

I have no plans to fly until gate rape is made illegal (this includes both the rubber-glove version and the rape-scan version).

I'll gladly spend two days driving (each way) once a year to avoid a gate-rape.

Re:F*** the travel industry (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402215)

I love driving around the US. The problem is for work I travel to various US cities about twice a month and to places outside the US about 4 times a year. That's a hell of a lot of driving and time in a boat? Can you even take a boat to the UK or Asia from the US?
I enjoy taking Amtrak between NY/DC/PHL/BOS but other than those cities...

Re:F*** the travel industry (2)

Captain Hook (923766) | about a year ago | (#42402349)

There is still Southampton to New York cruises available, it's a 1 week crossing, but obviously they are aimed at tourists rather than business travel so the ships are stacked to to brim with entertainment type stuff, and old people taking a retirement cruise.

What kind of personal info? Grocery stores alread (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402165)

Large grocery stores already force you to sign up for their club cards in order to get the sale prices.

Re:What kind of personal info? Grocery stores alre (1)

nolife (233813) | about a year ago | (#42402183)

I have never had an issue using fake information on those shopping member cards. I imagine trying to use fake info for air travel would be frowned upon.

Re:What kind of personal info? Grocery stores alre (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#42402223)

I have never had an issue using fake information on those shopping member cards. I imagine trying to use fake info for air travel would be frowned upon.

Hehe, I hope you NEVER used a credit card to purchase with your "fake" shopping member card. Because once you do, the fake member card is tied to your real and verifiable info forever.

Airlines would also have your true information because you cannot even buy your plane ticket with cash (well, maybe you can - but I wouldn't recommend it nowdays). At least groceries can still be had for cash...

The rich can afford privacy, while poor get screwd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402191)

History has shown that the rich can almost always buy themselves privacy, while the poor get screwed.

The rich can buy houses far away and concealed from any neighbor, while the poor are stuck in overcrowded ghettoes where they are forced to share rooms with many others.

The rich can buy private compartments on trains, entire railroad cars, or even whole trains, while the poor have to ride coach with the rest of the poor.

The rich can afford to hire teams of security experts to sweep their houses and offices for bugs and perform other counter-surveillance measures, while the poor have no such recourse.

The rich can ride in private jets, while the poor (if they can afford to fly at all) have to put up with flying coach and submitting to invasive security theater and now to having to give up personal information because they can't afford the rates charged for not revealing that information (rates which the rich can easily afford).

So, once again, we see that the rich can buy themselves some privacy, while the poor get screwed.

But there is something the government could do about this: create privacy protection laws that forbid the collection of personal information or the charging of fees for non-collection of such information.

Re:The rich can afford privacy, while poor get scr (4, Interesting)

BlueStrat (756137) | about a year ago | (#42402959)

The rich can ride in private jets, while the poor (if they can afford to fly at all) have to put up with flying coach and submitting to invasive security theater and now to having to give up personal information because they can't afford the rates charged for not revealing that information (rates which the rich can easily afford).

You know, there's a huge business opportunity here for someone with some resources and the balls to upset the airline industry and the government.

How about a website that acts sort of like a travel/booking site and an auction site, sort of like a cross between Amazon, Orbitz, and Ebay, only the "goods" up for auction will be air-charter services. Get these small and medium charter services competing for bookings. The more that bid on a flight, the lower the price, as a charter service can charge less per passenger if they can be reasonably sure of packed flights. The more that use the service, the lower the prices for everyone.

Once businesses start using it, the game would be all but over except for the death-spasms for the current airline industry (and the TSA...hard to justify spending billions for agents to sit cooling their heels in increasingly-empty commercial terminals).

Eventually, unless government stepped in to prevent individuals from organizing together to book private flights (which would be a bugger in the details to try to prevent), the charter services would grow until they replaced the old airlines.

If the airlines and government can't or won't make air travel reasonable in price, service quality, or "junk-groping", then treat the airlines and government like censorship on the 'net, and route around the greedy, pompous, megalomaniacal, corrupt bastards.

If they won't fix the air travel industry, build a new air travel industry the way that people on the 'net are funding and creating all sorts of other things from open source software projects.to business startups.

Although it's likely the government would step in to somehow halt any such movement towards grass-roots air travel, maybe forcing it to have to do so would at least bring the topic "above the fold", to use an old newspaper term, and the popular public pressure generated would have some mitigating effect on the horrible state of commercial air travel in the US.

Or, everybody can bitch and moan on internet forums and blogs and do the same things they've been doing, and fighting the fight on their terms. That's worked well so far.

Strat

Re:The rich can afford privacy, while poor get scr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42403073)

What, you'd dare to go against giant corporations and the government? Are you a progressive? A c-c-c-communist!?

Test (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402205)

Hitler: squashed or not?

But business wants cheapest fare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402229)

This will be interesting for business travelers as many companies require employees to purchase the cheapest fare.

If this change were to take hold, it is easy to see that the cheap fares for your grand mother no longer being available to you when you need to fly LAX/SFO/JFK for a business trip. I cannot see business liking that and that pressure will be applied during sessions on the golf course and at the club room to nip this one in the bud.

The other place this will hit will be the 1%ers who could also expect to see price discrimination (if they're not already buying 1st class tickets) and again I would expect that social circles will influence this discussion.

A different potential outcome is that profiles of people purchasing tickets leads to the repeating traveler also paying less, so not only do they get more FF points the more they fly, but because they're a good customer, they get cheaper prices than the once a year flyer looking for a good deal.

Once they see the contents of your wallet... (5, Insightful)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#42402243)

Once they see the contents of your wallet... they can adjust the prices they offer to you to maximize their intake of your cash and minimize those aforementioned contents of your wallet. That's the real key to profitability with personal pricing: find out how MUCH they are willing to pay for what they want. So it's only to their benefit to know how much money you're playing with (how good your credit is, how many other expensive things you've bought before, whether you're a customer they'd like to take on or someone they want to go away).
.
There is NO benefit for customers from this at all that I can see.

The secret word is 'travel agent" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402413)

They still do useful things, and airlines still find it advantageous to offer them good prices. The airline doesn't get your name until the travel agent has already locked the price in.

Re:Once they see the contents of your wallet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402589)

It is - because if you are not willing to pay much, you will get a discount. That's a benefit, isn't it?

Re:Once they see the contents of your wallet... (1)

wienerschnizzel (1409447) | about a year ago | (#42402633)

I don't get this animosity towards price setting. It's been around since forever. The traders 10 000 years ago knew their individual customers well enough to sell at different prices, too. I understand that you want to pay as little as possible but what's wrong about any transaction that both parties willingly accept?

It's not even bad for customers as a group. For instance, I can buy a Volkswagen Polo (in Europe) with basic equipment at a price with a minimal profit margin for VW because VW is selling the 'luxuriously' outfitted models and Audis with outrageous profit margins to others. So I definitely profit from people who are willing to pay 2500 EUR for a built in navigation system in their already price inflated A4.

If you are not willing to educate yourself about the common price of something before you click 'buy' on Amazon then tough luck - you'll pay premium and make things cheaper for us. On the other hand, Amazon can only do this within the limits of the market lest its customers run away to their competition (eBay, Wall Mart, Newegg etc.)

Re:Once they see the contents of your wallet... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#42402741)

It is bad for the economy. It means that I have to spend extra time making sure that I am not spending more for an item than I need to. I may be willing to spend more for an airline ticket to a particular destination than you are, but if I end up spending that greater amount, that is money I do not have to spend on something else. The optimal pricing structure is one where merchants sell their goods at the same price to everyone and set that price at the lowest price that makes it worth their while to bring the goods to market.
I do not believe that this is something that should be mandated by law, but I do believe the attempt to scrape the maximum amount of profit out of every transaction creates economic inefficiency.

Re:Once they see the contents of your wallet... (2)

wienerschnizzel (1409447) | about a year ago | (#42402811)

but if I end up spending that greater amount, that is money I do not have to spend on something else

Sure. But somebody else will get to spend that amount. Hopefully someone who is able to spend money more efficiently than you do. See how this works?

The optimal pricing structure is one where merchants sell their goods at the same price to everyone and set that price at the lowest price that makes it worth their while to bring the goods to market.

That sounds like what socialist economist in Karl Marx mold like to say. I'm not trying to offend you - you probably didn't even realize the similarity. The problem with this kind of thinking is that while it looks good on paper, it's impossible to realize in the real world.

In the real world the prices are driven down by informed customers and inflated by uninformed customers. Expecting the merchants to willingly minimalize their profit is like expecting the river to flow uphill. Would you personally willingly cut your salary to 'the lowest number that it makes you worth your while to offer your services'?

In any case, if you are aspiring to be the uninformed customer you are not doing yourself a favor. If you would like everybody to become an uninformed customer, it would not help the efficiency of the economy - to the contrary - it would become horribly inefficient.

Re:Once they see the contents of your wallet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402819)

The optimal pricing structure is one where merchants sell their goods at the same price to everyone and set that price at the lowest price that makes it worth their while to bring the goods to market.

I don't think many economists would agree. Remember that all these business transactions are two-way: both parties are handing over something they have and receiving something they want more than the thing they had. In this case, you have money, but really need transportation services, while the airline has empty seats but needs money. Spending on airline tickets doesn't really 'displace' other spending because by choosing air transportation over other goods or services you are indicating that you need and value transportation more than you need or value a new TV or laptop. In a world with limited economic resources, these choices have to be made somehow.

Airlines have high fixed costs so a single price would have to be comparatively high - it would not be the case that everyone could fly at the very low prices they sometimes sell at in order to fill out empty seats. This means that people with more money or who need to travel more end up paying less than they would have and people with less money don't get to fly at all. How is that more efficient?

This works both ways... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402271)

I already have at least 8 separate identities online, with quite different ages, sex and attitudes. Most of my friends have at least two. TOR and Mailinator are your friends here...

take from the poor to reward to the rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402303)

As usual the well off will get discounts so they get to fly more for leisure, the working poor as usual will be squeezed as they usualy only spend when they have to.
It is expensive to be poor and powerless, once you have access to capitol you have control over your world.

What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402321)

Paying the full fare is the expected situation, right?

Perfect Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402451)

Doesn't a little concept called a perfectly competitive market solve this issue? If you dont wanna get ripped off compare prices, it all equals itself out.... Unless there is a genuine cartel involved, but that would be illegal.....

Wrong again, sensationalized yet again. (2)

will_die (586523) | about a year ago | (#42402485)

What the summary talks about is something that could happen based on ideas from the trade industry that covers travel agency.
Now the reason travel agencies are upset is because airlines are switching to a system where if you order your ticket from the airline web site you can purchase extra deals which are not available if you purchase some site like expedia or travelocity.
For example one airline just switched to a system where for $68 you get a luggage check on, and you can change your date and time for no additional cost. If you purchased it through the travel agency site you just have the option to pay $50 for the check luggage and if you want to change date or time it costs $150. All prices USD.
So in a way they are correct if people switch to using the airline web site to order tickets they will get to know your age, sex, address, email and travel history but the travel agencies are already collecting this.

Sounds crap. (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year ago | (#42402499)

Set up a site and have people post what they paid or what they are being shown for a flight. Use transparency to see through their bull.

Re:Sounds crap. (1)

kenh (9056) | about a year ago | (#42402797)

Knowing that someone else paid less for a seat than the airline is offering the same seat to you for does what, exactly?

I'm not sure if you know this or not, but every seat on the plane is dynamically priced, based in part on how full the plane is at the time you buy the ticket, how early you buy the ticket, what service you use to book the ticket, etc.

Knowing what someone else paid for a ticket is an almost useless datapoint - do you imagine airlines will want to haggle with you to help you pay them less for your seat on their plane?

Or, to look at it the other way... (5, Funny)

Shag (3737) | about a year ago | (#42402523)

Airlines are (and have been, and will continue to be) giving preferential treatment to their better customers. How this is even news, I don't know - frequent flyer programs have been around for what, thirty years now? And you don't have to fly to see all the advertising about how getting the airline's affinity credit card saves you from paying for that first checked bag every time you fly with them, and so on, and so forth. Flying 25,000 miles a year with them gets you that too, plus bonus miles, plus free upgrades when available, and the perks only go up from there.

Earlier this millennium, I spent a few years as a top-tier frequent flyer on an airline that has since merged into one of the remaining behemoths. I was in my 30's at the time, and had some "work" that involved a lot of international flights. (Thanks for paying your taxes, if you live in any of the twenty-odd countries whose governments were funding it.) It was even worthwhile for me to buy a membership in their lounges. Their back-end system had a formula for determining "high-value customers," and based partly on how many years I was expected to be their customer before retiring, it decided they were going to make some bucks off me, even though I always flew on the cheapest available fares.

The airline that borged them didn't have this generous of a nature, but said "wow, look at this great data-mining system!" and adopted it, not fully understanding what they were getting. A year or so after the merger, I used some miles for a free, non-upgradable ticket to meet up with my fiancée in Paris for a weekend. I got to the hub airport for the trans-Atlantic flight to Paris, the gate agent paged me, looked me up and down (yeah, t-shirt and sandals), asked if I was in fact me, looked more than a little distressed, then dragged me off to the side away from the counter and said in hushed tones, "We're not allowed to do this - but the computer says to upgrade you!"

As far as I know, this airline's computer still thinks I am a god among men, and unless they deliberately go in and tweak the algorithms, it may think that forever. I'm... okay with this. :)

Nothing to see here (1)

Legion303 (97901) | about a year ago | (#42402613)

Much of the info mentioned in the article is shit you make up when filling out profiles online anyway. So do that. Obviously you'll need your real name and probably your correct gender and approximate age if you don't want extra probing^Wscreening, but have a field day with everything else.

Yet Another Reason Not To Fly (5, Insightful)

rally2xs (1093023) | about a year ago | (#42402735)

They just keep piling it on, adding reasons not to have anything to do with air travel.

Having to pay big $$$ for parking at a lot that is still a 10 minute bus ride from the terminal
Having to wait maybe 15 minutes for that bus
Having to wait maybe 15 minutes for that bus at 24 degrees or 105 degrees
Overpriced food at terminals
TSA stealing stuff from your luggage
TSA thinking they have the right to lay hands on you
TSA thinking they have the right to x-ray you (only my Dr. and dentist...)
Late planes
Late planes when you have to catch a connection
1/2 hr sprints thru big airports 'cuz your plane was late for the connection
Lost luggage
45 minutes to retrieve luggage after plane lands
Arriving 2 hrs early 'cuz of TSA
Narrow airplane seats
Fees for blankets
Fees for pillows
Fees for food
Fees for checked baggage
Fees for carry on baggage
Having to rent a car when you get there
Paying for wi-fi in the airport

Have given up flying for anyplace I can get to with my car. About the only good thing left about flying and airports is Cinnabon.

Re:Yet Another Reason Not To Fly (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#42403127)

well, the stupid airlines still want to fill their seats so they'll still shell tickets out through discount airfare ticket dealers.

just buy through 'em and not fly in usa. buying direct through the airline is usually stupid anyways.

So Data Pollution / Camouflage (1)

retroworks (652802) | about a year ago | (#42402763)

The Solution is Dilution

There is no quid pro quo for accuracy of the information (except in credit card data mining industry, and travel companies are already in that business). Easy enough to give bad data. Sure, there are things you cannot fake with air travel due to Homeland Security requirements. But we should all be in the habit of polluting our data at least a little bit. I change my birthday on almost every site, and the more sites that ask for my birthday, the greater my opportunity to pollute the grid. I'm more concerned about my friends tagging my information than I am about the information I give to grocers (I do have a grocery reward card, but I use one I found in the parking lot)

http://tinyurl.com/solutionisdilution

They never said real personal information.... (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#42402765)

So I am a 7'2" 120 pound jewish black man with a medical condition that makes me look like I am a short fat balding white guy that eats bacon.

Re:They never said real personal information.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402957)

I am a short fat balding white guy that eats bacon.

Is Slashdot now a Personal Ad site? Because if so you had me at "bacon". Come here you sexy thing and let mama smell you.

It's called 'Giving consumers a choice' (1)

kenh (9056) | about a year ago | (#42402773)

So let me get this straight, airlines will offer discounts to customers it knows more about, and (potentially) no discounts to customers it knows nothing about? And the problem is...

They have put a value to your personal information and are giving consumers a choice - share your personal info, save some money OR keep your personal info private and don't.

What's wrong with allowing customers to 'opt in' for savings at the cost of their annonymity? If they didn't allow you to 'opt in' but forced you to share personal data I could understand the issue, but that isn't the case here.

Feed em crap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42402885)

And game the system to your advantage.

I have no problem with this. (1)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about a year ago | (#42402893)

In America, you get screaming meemies, lawyers, and "everybody's a special case" syndrome. So, the discount airline is Southwest, with "low low fares" as low as a few hudred bucks, basically.

In "nanny state" britain, the system is less regulated and adults are allowed to enter (or not, as they so choose) into contracts which they are expect to keep. The result is ryanair, which can be "less than the cost of a pizza" cheap, regularly.

I'd be more than happy if companies competed on information as well. I am not excited otherwise about what half of you are proposing, which is the inability of companies to compete on such things. If you dont want to give such companies your business, don't. but FFS, don't get the regulators involved in free market innovation (good bad or otherwise this is one place where the market actually can work).

and don't get me started on the eedjits who think it should be written into the constitution that the price of their luggage be included in the ticket... that is, that everybody else should subsidize their luggage.

In a nutshell (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about a year ago | (#42402991)

The airlines oppose honest business practices. This seems to be why they are opposed to making it easier for the consumer to make an informed decision. If they are so opposed to honest business practices, it is all the more reason to pass regulation.

You have to wonder at some point (3, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | about a year ago | (#42403005)

What the value of everyone knowing what you buy actually is. If the supermarket and the airline and everyone else knows I own a dog and drive an old Camry I'm not sure what anyone thinks the spam/value-add of all of that is. As it is, most people already throw away most junk mail and junk email unopened. And since the airlines themselves never actually give discounts, just complex fee-add schemes, it's not as if they're going to successfully market to people based on that. It's not as if they're going to take an 'extra' trip to Florida this year because your quadruple platinum diamond intergalactic admiral club membership is going to waive that $25 checked bag fee. I just don't see it. I think the airlines were sold a bill of goods by marketing consultants and now they're going to create complex expensive systems that, as always, don't do anything to keep them out of bankruptcy like they do every 3 or 4 years.

Re:You have to wonder at some point (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#42403075)

I agree. I'd have thought that the ultimate value comes from getting money out of my wallet and into the company's coffers. Clearly this is only of secondary interest.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...