Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever noticed that the so-called deals on airplane tickets always include an asterisk?
Surely you’ve seen it. There will be a big advertisement that says “Fly to London this summer for only $626*” but what isn’t explicitly mentioned is the fact everything in life comes with a catch.
It’s just hidden behind an asterisk.
Once you look into what the asterisk means, you find out that it is $626 each way — or $1,252 round trip — and that you can only begin your trip during one week in May and one week in August.
Travelers also must spend certain nights away before you can fly back. Of course it’s not just a certain number of nights but an actual specific night which must be spent away.
And you’re limited on where you can go from your nearest airport.
Don’t get me wrong, these deals can be a great way to travel — if they fall in line with a person’s travel plans. You’re up a creek without a paddle however if you want to go to a specific city at a specific time that’s not listed among the deals.
Let’s take one major airline’s current special on flying from Atlanta to Madrid for $736 each way — if the person departs Atlanta before or on May 30. That would be a total of $1,472 round trip.
When you go to book the flight on said airline’s website, it is revealed that you can simply do a search for round-trip, nonstop flight for $1,376.90.
OK, tell me again how $736 each way is supposed to be a deal? Did the airline put the wrong price on its travel deals list? If so, then that’s a pretty bad mistake to make — it gives people the impression that the cost would be higher than it really is.
It’s especially bad when the domestic “deal” flights are taken into account. These deals will get you to the great travelers oasis of Brunswick; Alexandria, La.; Appleton, Wisc.; Allentown, Penn.; Bloomington, Ill. and Flint, Mich.
There are some good destinations sprinkled here and there such as Chicago, Colorado Springs, Baltimore, Cincinnati. If you want to visit Canada, Delta has a good deal right now where travelers can fly to Buffalo for $100 each way. They can rent a car and drive an hour north to stay in Niagara Falls, Ontario (the U.S. is a little dull by comparison). From there, they can drive another hour north and visit Toronto.
Such gems are few and far between though. Mostly the domestic deals offered by airlines are to small towns you only fly to if you are visiting family who live there.
That ain’t a vacation — it’s CIA-style torture.
That’s the hidden meaning of the asterisk.
Curt Yeomans is the Senior Reporter for the Clayton News Daily and an avid traveler. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 , via Email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @CYeomansCND.