- Days left
As a sign of just how desperate travel sellers are getting -- or perhaps one of how the Web is turning into a true free-for-all -- the major travel booking sites have been shucking their fees. Last month, Orbitz, Travelocity, CheapTickets, Hotwire, and Expedia all reduced or eliminated the fees they charged for booking airfare through May 31. That eliminates a cost to passengers of about $7 per flight.

Until recently, if you compared a hotel quote on, say, Travelocity and Orbitz, you might see a lower price on Travelocity than on Orbitz, but when you clicked through to make your purchase, suddenly the "taxes and fees" line item that showed up near the end of the process could reverse your good fortune and make the other website the winner. It was time consuming, annoying, and expensive. But the websites make their money out of a portion of those fees (and some analysts think that up to 60% of their income is based off the fees), which can easily mount $25 to $40 on a single night at a standard business class hotel.

But Orbitz will not charge a fee through July 15. Presumably, it will take its profit out of any markups in the hotel rate. In response, Expedia matched the fee cut (I'd expect Travelocity to do it soon, too), but Orbitz says it will still be cheaper than competitors like Travelocity "80% of the time."

Hooray! With the new savings, we can finally afford to check bags and use pool towels again!

Orbitz, though, hasn't ended the changes there. The site, which is clearly trying to remake itself to draw travelers again and stay in business, has started quoting you one price, a what-you-see-is-what-you-get rate. I wish the airlines could try the same thing. I'm sick of combing through airfare sales for $199 that turn out, when I'm ready to plug in my credit card number, to be nearly twice that price because of taxes and fees. Tell me the price, the whole price, and nothing but the price. Then we'll see how you really stack up in the marketplace.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Timing Your Spending

How to pay less by changing when you purchase.

View Course »

Getting out of debt

Everyone hates debt. Get out of it.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

What Are the Tax Penalties for Smokers?

Starting in 2014, the Individual Shared Responsibility provision of the Affordable Care Act made you responsible for having minimum essential coverage, or MEC, in health insurance. Otherwise, you need to be eligible for a health care exemption, or you could pay a penalty when filing your income tax return. This requirement for minimum essential coverage applies to smokers and nonsmokers alike. If you're not covered by an employer's health plan and are a smoker, you can go to the health care marketplace to find MEC. If you're still unable to comply, you may have a penalty applied.

A Brief History of Income Taxes

Did you know President Abraham Lincoln, one of America's most beloved leaders, also instituted one of its least liked obligations - the income tax? In this brief history of taxes, see the historical events which shaped income taxes in the United States today.

How to Itemize Taxes When Claiming Dependents

Claiming dependents and itemizing deductions is an effective way to save money on your income taxes. Each dependent you claim allows you to reduce your taxable income by one exemption. Get a step-by-step overview on how to take advantage of itemizing your taxes when claiming dependents in this article on tax tips.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum