Money Minute: Fairer Rules for Online Airfare Purchases


Here's a novel idea: getting an apples to apples comparison when trying to make airline reservations.

The Transportation Department is proposing new rules that would allow us to see the total cost, including all fees and taxes, before we click the "buy ticket" button. This would apply to airline websites as well as third-party travel sites, such as Orbitz (OWW) and Kayak. Add-on fees for things that used to be free are one of the leading complaints of fliers. The airlines industry is opposed to the proposal, saying it will add to their costs.

Computer users are constantly advised to change and secure passwords. The latest warning comes from eBay (EBAY) after a cyberattack on its servers. But a new report says many popular websites don't take security password protection as seriously as we do. Dashlane checked 80 leading sites and gave more than half failing grades. The worst on the list were, Hulu and (OSTK). Apple (AAPL) had the highest score.

Where there's smoke, there's fire. The tobacco company Lorillard is reportedly near an agreement to sell itself to Reynolds American (RAI). Lorillard (LO) owns Newport, the top-selling menthol brand, as well as blu, the leader in the fast-growing market for battery-powered e-cigarettes.

Here on Wall Street on Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rallied 158 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose 15, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) gained 34 points.

A $2 billion bill for your dinner. That's how much European consumer products company Unilever (UN) received for selling the rights to the Ragu and Bertolli brands in North America to a Japanese firm. Ragu is the best-selling pasta sauce in the U.S. Last year, Unilever sold two other well-known brands: Skippy peanut butter and Wishbone salad dressing.

Finally, yogurt and other healthier options have been steadily eating away at the dominance of cold cereals for breakfast. So Kellogg (K) is jumping aboard the trend. It's teaming up with Dannon's YoCrunch brand to offer yogurt varieties with Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops mixed in. What's interesting about this deal is that Dannon is owned by Kellogg's chief rival, General Mills (GIS).

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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Ebay hasn't notified me of a threat! That isn't going to happen!

May 22 2014 at 5:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fairer? UGH How about "more fair" Who writes this stuff!

May 22 2014 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dell1064's comment

'Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?'--I think both are correct. That said, fairer is clumsy sounding. Speaking of fairy tales, did you know the plural of dwarf is now dwarfs, not dwarves? It's supposed to be a change that 'simplifies' English. Knives becomes knifes. Hooves becomes hoofs. (Hoofbeats stays the same--although if hoofbeats is correct, why is passersby also correct?) JRR Tolkien once said that the correct plural of dwarf would be dwarrows.

American school children spend a full year learning English--a language they already speak.

May 22 2014 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A major computer security threat is something called a 419 scam. How it works is you get a very skillfully crafted email from Nigeria saying that some engineer or similar has passed on and left you 2 million dollars or so. They have you give them your banking info so they can "transfer" it to your account. Instead they clean it out. Or they tell you it is stuck in the transfer office and they need $240.00 to cover the fees. Either way you get nothing. It's A scam. Thousands of Nigerians are involved in this sending out millions of emails every hour.
Major problem with this is it is limited in dollar value to one time suckers, so the Nigerians are branching out looking for bigger scores. They know Barrack is a cash cow. They cooked up this latest drama to make a big score. And from what I'm reading Barry fell for it hook line and sinker. Remember you are paying for it with your taxes.
The people concocting these scams are highly educated - if you can locate one of the 419 emails read it and you'll understand.

May 22 2014 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to alfredschrader's comment

Actually, a 419 scam is not a computer security threat.

A 419 scam is any on of a myriad of form of advance-fee fraud, where a con artist promises a windfall return in exchange for an upfront fee. The modern version of these became widespread during the 1980s using snail mail. Of course, e-mail has since become more popular, but variants that rely on telephony exist, and snail mail variants haven't disappeared.

Nor are these inherently sophisticated, although some who employ this con may well be quite sophisticated.

I'm not exactly sure what you think Obama has to do with this particular form of scam.

May 22 2014 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think the airlines and the third party travel sites should be forced to reveal that information.

May 22 2014 at 11:37 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply