大学英语六级题库/阅读理解 Section B

A. A few months ago I booked a flight for two and then went to select seats on the airline's site. Based on the destination and time of year, I was surprised to find only two adjacent seats were available without paying a premium (额外费用). But I was even more surprised a few weeks later, when we boarded the aircraft and a flight attendant announced that only 30% of seats were occupied, so we should all feel free to stretch out.
B. So how could a flight that looked nearly full a month earlier wind up with seven out of ten seats empty? That's a question only the airlines can answer, and they're not eager to provide many details.
C. Are some carriers intentionally holding back seat assignments, in the hope we'll all pay for "premium" seats?It's a fair question, and the evidence is intriguing.
Behind the screen indeed
D. An awful plot goes on behind airline and travel booking screens, and much of it is strictly off-limits to consumers. What we do know is that for decades now airlines have become masters of what the industry calls yield management, offering millions of combinations of fares based on advance purchase patterns and other booking trends, so nearly everyone pays a different price based on when they buy. But now that paying extra for your seat selection has become common practice, securing your reservation is just half the battle.
E.Some industry experts have connected the dots. "They're trying to get people to buy premium seats," says George Hobica, USATODAY.com's Fly Guy columnist and the founder of Airfarewatchdog.com. "They want to increase revenue. And we're getting more complaints about it. " He notes that it "really annoys" passengers who want to sit together, particularly when traveling with small children.
F.He's echoed by Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition (联盟): "With yield management,consumers are aware and they know that airlines are constantly changing prices on seats. But if this is true, it is unethical--they're grossly misleading us. The thing that I find so offensive is conveying to me that I have no options, but if I wait a week or two then I do have options. "
G. According to the airlines, the reason for ancillary ( 附加的 ) revenue is unbundling (分类计价) ticket prices,so passengers who desire a given service--say checking a bag or ordering a soft drink--pay for it, while those who don't are spared the cost. But as Mitchell notes, "There's another twist to this. The airlines are saying fees are for 'optional services.' Well, seats aren't optional! "
H. Of course, securing a good seat isn't an issue if you're in first class or you're an elite member of a frequent flyer program. But what about the rest of us? As I've pointed out repeatedly in recent columns, we're faced with record-high load factors, the highest for the U.S. airline industry since World War II. But even with the average percentage of occupied seats for domestic flights at 82.7%, it's still an average--some flights will be fuller but others will not, particularly weeks in advance. Yet searching for seats keeps getting harder and harder.
Seats for sale
I.Hobica cites the major airlines as the prime culprits (起因), but he also notes even low-cost carriers can make securing seats difficult. On the flip side, he credits JetBlue and Virgin America for providing customers with clear policies. And then there is British Airways, which allows passengers in economy and business classes to select seats only 24 hours in advance. I asked an airline representative if seeing fewer free seats is a trend, and the response was: "That's going to vary because there are so many variables. "
J.I decided to check on seat availability at Delta.com. I inquired about economy-class availability for two seats on a busy route--Atlanta to Chicago--and conducted an apples-to-apples search for the same morning departure seven days in advance, and again 14 days in advance. For the flight one week out, a total of only eight seats were available, one preferred and seven standard, but only one set of two seats together. For the flight two weeks out, a total of 29 seats were available, consisting of 20 preferred and only nine standard, and still with only one set together. Remarkable how even twice the booking time still produced so few "free" seats, separately or together, yet there were plenty of seats that could be bought for the fight price.
K. I contacted Delta and a spokesman said the price for preferred economy varies "depending on a number of different factors," so customers need to compare the costs on a flight-by-flight basis. The preferred seats are reserved primarily for Medallion ( 大勋章 ) members, and become available without additional charge 24 hours prior to departure. When asked if Delta has received complaints about a dearth of free seats, he stated,"Overall, our seat program has been received very well. "
L. But my findings dovetailed ( 吻合 ) with recent complaints filed with Airfarewatchdog:(1) When (my husbanD. tried to get a seat assignment on the first flight there was just one "complimentary (免费的 ) seat"(near the back in the middle) available.., the other available seats had to be purchased for $69. On the connecting flight there were no "complimentary seats" at all! Is this legal? He bought and paid for a ticket on these flights and now he is supposed to "buy" a seat! (2) (After) paying for the flight, a message popped up and said that I could only get a seat assignment when I checked in. In order to get a confirmed seat, I had to pay $129 extra! Unless I pay, without a confirmed seat, I am the first one to be bumped from the flight if they are overbooked. How do they get away with this? (3) Does checking in online at the 24-hour mark before the flight give me a number in line or let me select seats then? Or do we all rush the gate with our boarding passes (and no seat assignment) in order to get the seat assignment?
How to respond?
M. So what can you do? It's a tough proposition. Usually I would offer strategies for countering such airline initiatives, but in this case the options are limited. That's why some believe the U.S. Department of Transportation should investigate these practices. As Mitchell says, "The airlines are holding all the cards with this one. There is a sore need for transparency on this. When people are confused, they make bad decisions. "
N. That said, consider the following: (1) When budgeting your airfares, make sure you consider not just baggage fees but the added cost of seat selection--for all travelers and in both directions.(2) If possible, book early,when there should be more seats available, and check in early too. Why the qualifier "should"? Because if availability is artificially manipulated, it's hard to be certain.(3) Book airlines that offer more transparent seat-selection policies. Of course, this is not an issue with Southwest and other carriers that offer "open seating" policies. (4) Finally, the last resort is what Hobica calls "horse trading": negotiating seat swaps with other passengers. But this has become a risky and undesirable option with flights so full, overhead bins (行李仓) so crammed and fellow passengers who may have paid for premium seats in advance.

1.[选词填空]The airlines' excuse for additional fees is unbundling ticket prices, so those who want the given service like baggage check and soft drink ordering will have to pay.
    2.[选词填空]The last strategy to counter the airline's initiatives is to exchange seats with other passengers by negotiating with them.
      3.[选词填空]Whether some carriers withhold seats on purpose for earning consumers' premium is a question deserving to be cleared up.
        4.[选词填空]When people budget their airfares, they should consider both the baggage fees and the added cost of seat selection.
          5.[选词填空]While Hobica ascribes the main responsibilities to the major airlines, he also mentions that the low-cost carders are making securing seats difficult.
            6.[选词填空]Behind the airline and travel booking screens, a terrible plot is being carried out, much of which is rigorously kept confidential from passengers.
              7.[选词填空]Kevin Mitchell considers the so-called yield management of the industry unethical and misleading.
                8.[选词填空]Mitchell holds that there is an urgent need for transparency on carriers' seat assignments.
                  9.[选词填空]What the spokesman of Delta says suggests that the preferred economy-class tickets are available 24 hours in advance of the plane's departure.
                    10.[选词填空]Some believe that, in order to solve the problem of airlines' withholding seats, some actions should be taken by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
                      参考答案: G,N,C,N,I,D,F,C,K,M