The US Airways $5 Booking Fee is “Relaxed”

I know, I know. I’ve been writing about US Airways way too much lately. I can’t help it if there’s a lot to talk about.

08_03_07 ussayrelaxI’ve seen a flurry of discussion in the last couple weeks about whether or not US Airways has done away with their $5 booking fee. The short version of the backstory (long one is here) is that US Airways added $5 to cost of most itineraries if booked on their website or through their call centers. Since most online travel agents charge a booking fee of their own, the net price when booked at usairways.com or an online travel agent was about the same. Of course, you could always go to Priceline and save $5 since they have no booking fee.

I received a handful of emails in the last week asking if that additional $5 has now disappeared. I checked my usual route, Long Beach to Phoenix, and sure enough it’s not there anymore. Hooray, right? Not so fast.

I spoke with the PR team and was told “We’ve relaxed it for now, although you might still find it on some US domestic and to-from Canada ticketing transactions.” Uh oh, so now it’s a game of hide-and-go-seek.

It may be there, it may not, but they certainly won’t tell you. At least we know it’s relaxed. Maybe that means it’s only on flights to the tropical islands of the Caribbean and Hawai’i. How do you go about figuring this one out?

It’s tough to say. Your best bet is probably to stick with Priceline where they don’t charge you a fee on any itinerary. Otherwise, just compare usairways.com rates to your favorite online travel agent or metasearch site. If usairways.com is within a couple of dollars of that site, then the fee is in place. If it’s a bigger spread, like $5 to $10, then it’s not.

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