Looking at cheap air tickets and passenger protections on airlines

In 2011, the US Department of Transport introduced a series of new regulations to offer greater protection to airline passengers. The intention is to improve the level of service actually delivered at airports and to achieve a better level of transparency on fares before you book. This is a brief summary of the new protections:
1. Lost baggage
If a bag is lost, the airline is required to refund the fee charged for carriage, and to hold that reduced fee on any continuing or return flights. Compensation is also to be paid. Although this is not intended as a substitute for you carrying travel insurance, basic losses should be covered immediately when loss or damage is obvious. Compensation remains payable even if the bag is not lost but merely delayed.
2. Bumping
Airlines continue to overbook, especially when cheap air tickets are held, despite the best efforts of regulators worldwide. The new rules double the amount of compensation payable if you are denied a flight. If you cannot be delivered to your intended destination within two hours of the scheduled time, you're entitled to compensation of double the face value of the ticket up to a maximum $650 per ticket. But if the delay is longer, you're entitled to four times the face value of the ticket up to a maximum of $1,300 per air ticket. These compensation amounts will be adjusted to stay in line with inflation every two years.
3. Transparency
Applicable charges for providing meals, handling bags and so on must be listed by all airlines on their website. All government fees and taxes must be included in the ticket prices collected. Unless the government fees and taxes rise, the prices cannot be increased after you pay.
4. Reservations
If you make a reservation for full-price or cheap air tickets, the quoted prices must be held for at least 24 hours. If you decide to cancel, the airline is not allowed to impose a penalty.
There was no variation of the tarmac delay rules. Secretary LaHood has been satisfied by the improvement in airline's performance although the new rules do require more disclosure on delays and cancellations to improve monitoring of the airlines.

Keeping cheap car rental rates means delaying new purchases

The world sometimes tries to simplify itself when the going gets tough. Reducing everything to the core activities and doing them well is often the way just to survive if prospering is too difficult. Although the US recession is supposed to be over, there's little sign of it in the economy. People are staying home and not spending. It's still thought prudent to pay down the debts. In such circumstances, one of the most obvious savings is to put off replacing the old with new. With a little patching and mending, we can all get by with what we have. As applied to the car rental companies, this means putting off renewing the fleet. It's cheaper to recruit a few extra maintenance staff to keep the existing vehicles running smoothly than to sell off each block of vehicles at fixed dates and replace with new. Indeed, most of the publicly quoted rental companies have been reporting increased profits as a result.
The problem now falls on to the manufacturers. For the last few decades, the US manufacturers have relied on the steady buying of standard models in volume. Although the prices charged were heavily discounted, this is money turned over quickly. If sales have to go through a dealer network and rely on credit from lenders less than excited by lending, sales are always going to be slow. The latest figures from the motor manufacturers show a 40% drop in sales to rental fleet customers.
GM's sales dropped by almost 20% and it's now losing market share to Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda. That's the case even though Ford's sales have also fallen slightly. This leaves the labor market in the manufacturing industry in a worried state. If rental companies do not resume their volume buying soon, there will be lay-offs. Yet, with those rental companies maximizing their return on the capital they have invested in their stock of vehicles, profits are up and, if you are prepared to accept an older model, cheap car rental is within your grasp. Which is more important. Being seen in a brand new fleet car or paying a cheap car rental rate and driving a tidy older vehicle?