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2015年07月07日

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  Section B

  Directions: In this section, you are going to read a passage with ten statements attached to it. Each statement contains information given in one of the paragraphs. Identify the paragraph from which the information is derived.

  You may choose a paragraph more than once. Each paragraph is marked with a letter. Answer the questions by marking the corresponding letter on Answer Sheet 2.

  Why Are Airlines Withholding Seats?

  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.

  46. Behind the airline and travel booking screens, a terrible plot is being carried out, much of which is rigorously kept confidential from passengers.

  47. 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.

  48. Whether some carriers withhold seats on purpose for earning consumers' premium is a question deserving to be cleared up.

  49. Mitchell holds that there is an urgent need for transparency on carriers' seat assignments.

  50. While Hobica ascribes the main responsibilities to the major airlines, he also mentions that the low-cost carders are making securing seats difficult.

  51. 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.

  52. When people budget their airfares, they should consider both the baggage fees and the added cost of seat selection.

  53. Kevin Mitchell considers the so-called yield management of the industry unethical and misleading.

  54. What the spokesman of Delta says suggests that the preferred economy-class tickets are available 24 hours in advance of the plane's departure.

  55. The last strategy to counter the airline's initiatives is to exchange seats with other passengers by negotiating with them.

  Section B

  【参考译文】

  为什么航空公司隐瞒有空位?

  A.几个月前我在一家航空公司预订了两个座位,然后去该航空公司的网站上选座。鉴于此次航班的目的地和出行时间,我惊奇地发现如果不支付附加费,仅剩下两个相邻的座位可供选择。但是更让我惊讶的是,几周之后,当我们登机时,一位乘务员宣布说,仅仅30%的座位有乘客落座,我们尽可以躺下来。

  B.那么在一个月前看起来几乎已经客满的航班怎么会到最后却有70%的座位空着呢?这个问题恐怕只有航空公司自己才能回答,然而他们并不急于给出详细的解释。

  C.难道一些运营商故意隐瞒座位的安排情况,希望大家都为优等座位支付额外费用吗?[48]这是一个值得研究的问题,而且其情况到底如何也很引人关注。

  幕后实情

  D.[46]在航空公司和旅行社的订票机制幕后。一个可怕的阴谋正在上演。而且对其中的内幕消费者大多毫不知情。我们所知道的是,几十年来,航空公司已经成为了业内人士所称的收益管理大师,他们根据提前购票模式和其他的订票趋势制定出无数种票价组合,因此几乎每个人都要根据自己的购票时间支付不同的票价。然而,现在为选择座位支付额外的费用已经成了家常便饭,确保自己已经预订了座位仅仅算是成功了一半。

  E.一些业内专家已经识破了航空公司的小伎俩。作为USATODAY.corn网站的Fly Guy专栏作家兼Airfarewatchdog.com网站的创办人,乔治·霍比卡表示:“航空公司试图让人们购买优等座位,他们想增加收入,但随之而来的投诉也更多。”他还提到。航空公司的做法着实让那些想要坐在一起的乘客头疼,尤其是带着小孩出行的乘客。

  F.商务旅行联盟的主席凯文·米切尔对乔治·霍比卡的观点表示赞同,[53]他说:“对于收益管理,消费者心里有数。他们知道航空公司经常改变座位的价格。但是如果情况果真如此的话。航空公司的做法确实是不道德的——他们在严重地误导我们。而我发现极其令人恼火的是他们告知我目前没有其他选择,但是如果我再等一两周的话,我就可以选择 (座位)了。”

  G.[47]根据航空公司的说法,之所以收取附加费是实行机票分类计价的缘故,这样一来,如果乘客想要某种特定的服务—一比如。托运包裹或者点一杯软饮料——就要为此付费。而那些不需要此类服务的乘客则无需付费。但是正如米切尔提到的那样:“还有一点也讲不通。航空公司说这些费用是为‘选择性服务’支付的,然而座位并不是可有可无的!”

  H.当然,如果你坐的是头等舱或者你是某个飞行常客计划的精英会员,那么确保获得一个好座位自然不是问题。但是我们其他人怎么办%?正如我在最近的专栏中反复指出的,我们面临的是自二战以来最高的客运量。但是即使国内航班座位的平均占用率高达82.7%,这也仅仅是个平均值——一些航班更高,也有一些没有那么高,尤其是在航班出发的几周之前。然而“一座难求”的情况变得日趋严重了。出售座位

  I.[50]霍比卡认为各大航空公司是造成这种状况的罪魁祸首.但他还提到。低成本的运营商也起到了推波助澜的作用。同时,霍比卡还对捷蓝(JetBlue)和维珍美国(VirginAmerica两家航空公司为顾客提供透明、清晰的政策的做法表示称赞。再有就是英国航空公司 (BritishAirways),他们只允许经济舱和商务舱的乘客提前24小时选择座位。我询问了一个航空公司的代表,是否无需支付额外费用的座位会越来越少,对方回答说:“这也不一定,因为变数太多了。”

  J.我决定在(达美航空公司的)Delta.com网站上对航班的座位做一下调查。我查询了亚特兰大飞往芝加哥这一繁忙航线的经济舱中两个相邻空座的情况,并且对该航线在同一天早上起飞的航班做了一次横向比较,调查了提前7天预订座位和提前14天预订座位的差异。结果显示,提前一周预订的话,一共只剩下8个座位可以选择,其中包括1个优等座和7个标准座,但是只有两个相邻的座位。而如果提前两周预订的话,共有29个座位可以选择,包括20个优等座和9个标准座,其中还是只有两个座位是相邻的。即便两次不同的订购时间也都只产生了如此少的 “可供免费选择的”座位,不管是分开的还是相邻的,这真的很令人吃惊,然而还有大量座位需要支付适当的费用才能买到。

  K.我联系了达美航空公司,该公司的一位发言人表示经济舱优等座的价格变化“取决于几个不同的因素”,所以顾客需要对不同航班的不同票价进行比较。[54]优等座主要是为奖章成员预留的,而且在飞机起飞煎24小时内无需支付额外费用就可获得。当被问及达美航空公司是否接到过顾客对于缺乏可免费选择座位的投诉时,该发言人表示: “总体而言,我们的座位机制还是受到良好评价的。”

  L.但是我的调查结果与最近乘客在Airfarewatchd09网站上提交的投诉不谋而合:(1)当我丈夫试图在第一趟航班上获得一个座位时,只剩下一个“免费的座位”(中间靠后的位置)可以选择……而其他可以选择的座位都需要额外支付69 美元才能获得。在转乘航班上,根本就没有“免费的座位”!这种情况合法吗?我丈夫已经购买了这些航班的机票并且已经付费,而现在他却不得不“购买”一个座位!(2)为所乘航班付费之后,系统弹出一个消息说,我只有在办理登机时才能被安排一个座位。要想确保获得一个座位,我必须再额外支付129美元!如果我不交钱、不确定座位,而航班座位已经被超额预订了的话,我就将成为此次航班上第一个被取消登机资格的人。航空公司怎么能逃脱惩罚?(3)如果在飞机起飞前 24小时之内在网上办理登机的话是否我就拿到了排队号码牌或者是否可以选择座位呢?还是为了抢到一个座位大家都拿着登机牌(未分配座位)冲进飞机舱门呢?

  如何应对?

  M.那么对此你能做些什么呢?这是个棘手的问题。[51]通常我会就如何应对航空公司的这类政策给出一些策略,但是在这种情况下,可选择的策略非常有限。这就是为什么一些人认为美国运输部应该对此类做法进行调查的原因。[49]正如米切尔所言:“航空公司在这个问题上处于很强势的地位。在这一事件上亟需透明。当人们感到困惑的时候会做出错误的决定。”

  N.即便如此,仍可以考虑如下对策:(1)[52]预算票价的时候,确保自己不仅将行李费用考虑在内。还要考虑为选择座位而支付的额外费用——这一点对所有的乘客都适用,而且在往返方向都如此。(2)如果可能的话,在应该有更多座位可以选择的时候,早点预订座位,而且也要早点办理登机。为什么这里用“应该”这个修饰语呢?因为如果剩余座位的数量是由人为操控的话,那就很难说了。(3)选择那些选座政策更透明的航空公司来订购机票。当然,对于西南航空公司以及其他那些提供“公开订座”政策的航空公司来说,这不是一个问题。(4)[55]最后一点,也是最后的一个应对策略,即霍比卡所说的“讨价还价”:和其他乘客商量一下调换座位。但是对于已经客满的航班来说,这种做法比较冒险而且并不可取,因为头顶的行李架上已经挤得满满当当,而且其他乘客可能已经提前支付了座位附加费。

  【答案解析】

  46.D

  解析:题干意为,在航空公司和旅行社的订票系统中,一项可怕的阴谋正在实施,而其中的隐情则严格对乘客保密。注意抓住题干中的关键词airline and travel booking screens,a terrible plot,rigorously和confidential。文章段落中,论及航空公司和旅行社订票阴谋的内容在D段出现,该段第一句提到,在航空公司和旅行社的订票机制幕后,一个可怕的阴谋正在上演。而且对其中的内幕消费者大多毫不知情。由此可见,题干对原文做了同义改写,故答案为D。题干中的a terrible plot和is rigorously kept confidential for分别与原文中的an awful plot和is strictly off-limits to相对应。

  47.G

  解析:题干意为,航空公司把实行机票分类计价作为额外收费的借口,所以那些想要诸如检查行李或点软饮料等特定服务的乘客就必须承担相应费用。注意抓住题干中的关键词unbundling ticket prices和the given service。原文段落中,论及机票分类计价和要求特定服务的内容在G段出现,该段第一句就提到航空公司称,之所以收取附加费是实行机票分类计价的缘故,这样一来,如果乘客想要某种特定的服务——比如,托运包裹或者点一杯软饮料——就要为此付费,而那些不需要此类服务的乘客则无需付费。由此可见,题干是对原文的同义改写,故答案为G。

  48.C

  解析:题干意为,部分运营商是否故意保留座位以赚取消费者附加费这个问题值得弄清楚。注意抓住题干中的关键词carders,premium和question。原文段落中,论及运营商们是否故意收取附加费的问题在C段出现,该段中作者提到,这是一个值得研究的问题,而且其情况到底如何也很引人关注,实际上就是在说这个问题值得弄清楚。由此可见,题于是对原文的同义改写,故答案为C。题干中的 withhold和on purpose分别对应原文中的holding back和intentionally。

  49.M

  解析:题干意为,米切尔认为运营商们在分配座位这一问题上亟须透明。注意抓住题干中的关键词Mitchell,need和transparency。原文段落中,提到 Mitchell且论及分配座位透明度的内容在M段出现,该段第五句引用Mitchell的原话,指出这一问题亟待透明。由此可见,题干是对原文的同义改写,故答案为M。题干中的urgent need对应原文中的sore need,carriers’seat assignment代指原文中的this。

  50.I

  解析:题干意为,尽管霍比卡把主要责任归咎于各大航空公司,他也提到,低成本的运营商们同样使得座位的获得变得困难。注意抓住题干中的关键词Hobica,themain responsibilities,themajorairlines和thelow—costcarders。原文段落中,提及Hobica和低成本的运营商使获得座位变得困难的内容在I段出现,该段第一句话提到,霍比卡认为各大航空公司是造成这种状况的罪魁祸首,低成本的运营商也起到了推波助澜的作用。由此可见,题干是对原文的同义改写,故答案为I。题干中的ascribes…to…和main responsibilities分别对应原文中的cites…as…和prime culprits。

  51.M

  解析:题干意为,一些人认为,为了解决航空公司保留座位的问题,美国交通运输部应该采取一些措施。注意抓住题干中的关键词 theU.S.DepartmentofTransportation。文章段落中,论及美国交通运输部的内容在M段出现,该段第三、四句话提到,通常作者会就如何应对航空公司的这类政策给出一些策略,但是在这种情况下,可选择的策略非常有限。这就是为什么一些人认为美国交通运输部应该对此类做法进行调查的原因。由此可见,人们认为交通运输部应该有所行动,故答案为M。

  52.N

  解析:题干意为,人们在为买机票制定预算的时候,应该把行李的费用和附加的选择座位的费用都考虑在内。注意抓住题干中的关键词budget,airfares,baggage fees和the added cost of seat selection。文章段落中,论及制定机票预算的内容在N段出现,该段第(1)点提到,预算票价的时候,确保自己不仅将行李费用考虑在内,还要考虑为选择座位而支付的额外费用。由此可见,题干对原文进行了同义改写,故答案为N。

  53.F

  解析:题干意为,凯文·米切尔认为所谓的收益管理是不道德且具有误导性的。注意抓住题干中的关键词Kevin Mitchell,yield management,unethical和misleadin9。文章段落中,提到Kevin Mitchell和航空业收益管理的内容在F段出现,该段引用米切尔的原话中提到,对于收益管理,消费者心里有数,他们知道航空公司经常改变座位的价格。但是如果情况果真如此的话,航空公司的做法确实是不道德的——他们在严重地误导人们。由此可见,题干是对原文的同义转述,故答案为F。

  54.K

  解析:题干意为,达美航空公司发言人的话表明,经济舱优等座在飞机起飞前24小时内可获得。注意题干中的关键词the spokesman of Delta,the preferred economy.class tickets,available和the plane’sdeparture。文章段落中,论及达美航空公司发言人的内容在K段出现,该段第二句提到,优等座主要是为奖章成员预留的,在飞机起飞前 24小时内无需支付额外费用就可获得。由此可见,题干是对原文的同义转述,故答案为K。

  55.N

  解析:题干意为,应对航空公司这类行为的最后策略是和其他乘客商量调换座位。注意题干中的关键词the last strategy,exchange seats和negotiating。文章段落中,论及与其他乘客商量调换座位的内容在N段出现,该段第(4)点提到,最后一个应对策略,即霍比卡所说的 “讨价还价”,是和其他乘客商量一下调换座位。由此可见,题干是对原文的同义改写,故答案为N。题干中的the last strategy和exchange seats with other passengers by negotiating with them分别对应原文中的me last resort和negotiating seat swaps with other passengers。

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