Absurd airfare pricing sparks increase in consumer complaints

Delta airlines, traveler complaints, airfares
Delta airlines, traveler complaints, airfares

Earlier this week, airfares to Hawaii from major U.S. cities temporarily dropped to as low as $420 round trip with no advance purchase or minimum night stay requirement. At the same time a round-trip nonstop flight from Minneapolis to Detroit returning the same day cost $1,160 two weeks away in September.

Welcome to the wild and woolly world of airline fares. The fare differences may not be new, but they are sparking more complaints to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which tracks but has little authority over them. In its latest Air Travel Consumer Report, the agency said it received 243 fare complaints for the first half of this year, up 12.5% from the same period in 2009.

Highest in fare complaints: Delta Airlines, which offered the $1,160 fare, with 63 complaints -- more than double the number of fare complaints of any other airline.