Question: I hope you can help me. I am part of a business that does a fair amount of traveling. We are looking at reducing our flight costs in general, but our main issue is the cost of rescheduling and canceling flights. For most flights the fee for doing so is $150. I would say we canceled 30 to 40 flights out of 220 booked last year. Refundable tickets are usually more than double the cost of the lowest fares we buy, and I don't feel that paying for fully refundable fares would make sense. I also looked into "cancel for any reason" travel insurance a bit. Would an airline, travel agency, or insurance company charge an annual fee for allowing a business to cancel and rebook fights? Any advice on the matter?
Answer: Probably the best advice I can give is to book your company's flights with Southwest Airlines. If you cancel a flight, Southwest will "bank" a credit for the entire fare, without a fee, into your account and you can use the credit for a future flight for up to one year from the original purchase date.
Q: I've noticed that a number of discount airlines (particularly AirTran and Frontier/Midwest) have included on their online booking search results such statements as "one ticket left at this price!" next to the fare price. While I've seen that prices actually do go up after that one ticket is bought, I'm wondering how believable is this statement? Does it necessarily mean the price won't go any lower in the future? Is this all a marketing ploy to get you to buy a ticket as soon a possible?
A: We've also noticed this, and we think it's a legitimate warning. Airlines sell only a certain number of seats at their lowest fares at any given moment. However, this doesn't mean that they won't open up more seats at the same fare later on, or that they won't lower the fare on a route to an even lower price the next day. Fares and seat availability at the lowest fares are in constant flux. The best way to nab a deal is to sign up for free low fare alerts from the many websites offering this service.