Orbitz struggling with basic math

Update 4/20/06: I received the initial message from Orbitz that they had found my target fare of $294 which according to them is less than my target price of $250. Then this morning I received a message that they are still searching and the best they could find is $263 which today they consider to be above my target price. Perplexing!

When I lived in Germany taxes and fees were always included in the quoted price and that’s the way it should be! As a consumer when I make a purchase I want to know how much I’ll be paying but in the US many companies try to play consumers with misleading advertising that doesn’t include fees and taxes which can add over 30% to the price. Airlines, rental car agencies, hotels, and EBay vendors are some of the worst offenders, advertising prices well below what you’ll actually pay.

This gets to an email I received from Orbitz today that made me chuckle. I have an Orbitz deal detector alert going for airfare less than $250 to visit my folks. Here’s how it read (no joke):

Subject: <strong>DealDetector: We Found Your Fare!</strong>

Orbitz DealDetector found a fare that <strong>meets or beats your
desired fare</strong>. Book while seats are still available!

*****************************************************************
TRIP 1: FOUND IT!
*****************************************************************

ONE: San Francisco, CA (SFO) to Portland, ME (PWM) for <strong>$250 or less</strong>
TOTAL FARE PER PERSON <strong>$294</strong>*

Apparently in the world of Orbitz $294 is less than $250!

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