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What's so special about a flight ticket?
Old 05-15-2011, 09:23 PM   #1
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What's so special about a flight ticket?

So you bought a flight ticket and decided you can't travel on that day. Why can't you sell or give that ticket to another person? Why does a flight ticket have to be associated to a specific person at the time of purchase? Is this practice common in other countries as well?
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:54 PM   #2
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Yes, it's just another profit center.
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:00 PM   #3
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So why don't trains, buses and ships(?) do the same to boost their profits?
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:09 PM   #4
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They'll think of it soon enough.
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:36 PM   #5
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Yes, it's just another profit center.
And look at how successfully it's working out for all the airlines, too.

Sam has a point there... even the TSA issues could be worked out if the airlines could take a commission from it.
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:11 AM   #6
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I'm missing something Nords. Are you suggesting the airlines profits would increase if they stopped this practice? Why isn't it better to get 100% of a guy's fare and have a chance at selling another ticket to his neighbor (possibly on a 100% full flight) than have him sell it and get no revenue?

WTFC about the TSA? They just grope whoever shows up, non-discriminatory.
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:01 AM   #7
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Same practice here in Asia. Once the agent got my name printed wrongly on my air ticket - does not match with my passport. You know the fine print sometimes say that tickets won't be reissued if names are incorrect. Well, the agent liaised with the airline and got it amended. They had to admit it was a genuine error.
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:00 AM   #8
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Good issue. We travel a lot and get frustrated with the complexities of airline pricing. It has gotten to the point where I put another line in my travel budget called "change fees". Often it costs almost as much to change a ticket as it does to buy a new one. In some cases advanced planning comes back to bite you if circumstances change. Flexibility would not be one of the airlines stong points.
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:54 AM   #9
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WTFC about the TSA? They just grope whoever shows up, non-discriminatory.
They do more than that, they check passenger lists against no-fly/watch lists. Why they don't do the same for trains and buses, I don't really have an answer for, other than to notice that TSA reacts to past issues and tries to prevent those incidents from happening again more than looking at what other types of events could happen in the future. 9/11 was carried out on planes, thus the focus on trains.

Certainly you could just make the new passenger pay a re-ticketing fee and register with the correct ID, which wouldn't be any difference timing-wise from a last minute ticket purchase.
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:43 AM   #10
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So why don't trains, buses and ships(?) do the same to boost their profits?
Train passes on the Chicago Metra are also not transferrable.
The same thing for cruise tickets.
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:49 AM   #11
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Companies love this kind of stuff. It adds complication, it adds a hidden fee, and it's done to "protect us from the terrorists."
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:23 AM   #12
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I'm missing something Nords. Are you suggesting the airlines profits would increase if they stopped this practice? Why isn't it better to get 100% of a guy's fare and have a chance at selling another ticket to his neighbor (possibly on a 100% full flight) than have him sell it and get no revenue?
I'm just sayin' that whatever system the airlines are using now doesn't seem to be making much money for them. Buffett has pointed out many times that more money has been invested in airline infrastructure & operations than has ever been thrown off as "profits". Air travel has been great for customers, not so much for investors.

Imagine if flying was as easy as calling a taxi or hopping on a bus, even if it was still appropriately priced for time/distance/fuel. Everyone would be more likely to do it.

Instead we have whole industries growing up around avoiding air travel, figuring out how to get cheap tickets, and what to do with the bonus points. I can give my movie ticket to my daughter if I decide not to see the flick, or I can try to sell it on Craigslist. Pretty much the same with a rock concert or a sporting event. I can buy a taxicab fare for someone else or give them my bus transfer. Why not do the same with airline tickets?

Spouse was on the periphery of a transaction that involved transferring airline miles to someone who redeemed them for a ticket. Then that person paid the "donor" in cash for the miles. When the airline figured out what must have happened they effectively removed the person from the plane and penalized everyone involved. They spent far more money creating the system and enforcing their own rules than if they'd just let people sell their own tickets on the free-market system.

Yeah, I understand the security issues. But the airlines are able to solve some of those problems already ("frequent traveler" lists, accelerated screening lines) so they could presumably do the same with ticket transactions. If only something like this already existed. We could call it "NetJets".
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:43 AM   #13
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Certainly you could just make the new passenger pay a re-ticketing fee and register with the correct ID, which wouldn't be any difference timing-wise from a last minute ticket purchase.
That's my gripe. Do they have sufficient time to check out a passenger 5 mins before boarding time? Unlikely I think. But the rest of us have to suffer the inconvenience.

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Train passes on the Chicago Metra are also not transferrable.
So how is a train pass on the Chicago Metro area purchased? How much time is needed to for that process?
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:57 AM   #14
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Imagine if flying was as easy as calling a taxi or hopping on a bus, even if it was still appropriately priced for time/distance/fuel. Everyone would be more likely to do it.
It was, wasn't it. At least before 9/11 if I recalled correctly. But anyway, it would be nice if security and ticket purchase are completely separated.

What if a ticket can bought without a name and whoever is using it HAS to physically show up at the gate 30 mins before boarding time? That should give TSA plenty of time to do their groping checking.
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:06 AM   #15
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Nords. I'm with you. They don't make any money and their customers hate them. Great business model.
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Old 05-16-2011, 02:36 PM   #16
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They don't make any money and their customers hate them. Great business model.
"... but we really make it up on volume!!"
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Old 05-16-2011, 02:59 PM   #17
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Oh yes, and if you have a non-European or non-Asian sir name your ticket had better match your driver's licence EXACTLY.
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:24 PM   #18
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Oh yes, and if you have a non-European or non-Asian sir name your ticket had better match your driver's licence EXACTLY.
My name is somewhat unusual (mix of different cultures), and I've had airlines mangle the name on my ticket to point of merging my middle and last name, switching last/middle with first, etc. So far I'm glad people just seem to take this in stride at the airport, and wave me through.

Or, that could explain the extended TSA grope sessions...
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:01 PM   #19
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So how is a train pass on the Chicago Metro area purchased? How much time is needed to for that process?
"Monthly Unlimited Ride Pass
Regular Metra commuters save 40 percent or more over one-way fares. Monthly passes are for the exclusive use of the purchaser and are not transferable. If you buy a monthly ticket online from the first of the month on, you will be mailed one for the next month. If you need to ride before then, please purchase a ticket from a station agent or order ten ride tickets which will take 5 to 7 days to receive."

To be honest, I have not bought a monthly pass for ages, but when I used to buy them, I just go to the ticket counter with my check. But as stated above, it can also be purchased online.
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:16 PM   #20
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Instead we have whole industries growing up around avoiding air travel, figuring out how to get cheap tickets, and what to do with the bonus points. I can give my movie ticket to my daughter if I decide not to see the flick, or I can try to sell it on Craigslist. Pretty much the same with a rock concert or a sporting event. I can buy a taxicab fare for someone else or give them my bus transfer. Why not do the same with airline tickets?
Some think that the low-cost internetsites and internet scouts are the cause of all of the restrictions and fees. With the internet it's a race to the bottom ticket-price wise. Anybody whos ticket costs a nickel more loses out.

Hence the fees and restrictions.

We have the airline industry that we all want evidently. We vote for it every time we buy a ticket. Evidently better service and less restrictions aren't what we (collectively) want.

We have the system that we voted in.
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