Playing the Airlines' 'Shell Game'

Regarding "Hidden Contract Rules Catch One-Way Fliers" (Travel Insider, May 13): The airlines remind me of a crooked casino. They hold all the cards, shuffle them out of view and deal from whatever part of the deck they choose. They run "capacity-control" shell games with advertised fares that are here yesterday, gone today and "subject to availability."

Their games have complex rules that aren't completely disclosed and that change constantly. But they're quick to cry "Cheat!" and punish customers who have figured out how to win a hand, or even those who inadvertently violate one of the secret rules.

As for those airline representatives who say that ignoring restrictions is "as immoral as stealing": What about the morality of an airline getting paid twice for the same seat when it resells an unused "throwaway" ticket or forces someone to forfeit an "invalid" nonrefundable ticket and buy another at a higher fare?

TED MARKUS

Torrance

FOR THE RECORD Los Angeles Times Thursday June 7, 2001 Home Edition Part A Part A Page 2 A2 Desk 1 inches; 19 words Type of Material: Correction Letters--The name of a letter writer was misspelled in the June 3 Letters column of the Travel section. The correct spelling is Ted Marcus. For the Record Los Angeles Times Sunday June 10, 2001 Home Edition Travel Part L Page 6 Travel Desk 1 inches; 16 words Type of Material: Correction Letters--The name of a letter writer was misspelled in the June 3 Letters column. The correct spelling is Ted Marcus.
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