Last time we were talking about mass transit systems collecting fares on the honor system. This time, something completely different. But to understand it, consider this analogy. Let\u2019s say you\u2019re in a store shopping for a commodity. You and another shopper each select one of the same items at the same time and head for the cashier. But before you can pay, the cashier asks for your name and some identification. You\u2019re from Darien or New Canaan and a new customer. The other shopper is from Hartford, but a regular at the store. The cashier plugs in that info and you\u2019re told that your purchase will cost 10% more than the other shopper\u2019s. What? Well, welcome to the world of \u201cpersonalized prices.\u201d You may not realize it, but this happens all the time when you\u2019re buying gasoline, thanks to \u201czone pricing,\u201d where gas stations charge higher prices in more affluent communities, not just in Connecticut but nationwide. And giving discounts to \u201cbest customers\u201d is also quite common. Monthly pass holders on Metro-North pay only half of what their peak fares would cost purchased separately. But never before have these concepts been combined in some secret algorithm to apply to purchasing airline tickets \u2026 until now. IATA, the International Air Transport Authority, has petitioned the United States to allow its 250 members to capture and use new kinds of personal information about would-be flyers before quoting them a fare. Most frightening of these could be some sort of \u201cmeans test.\u201d In other words, as in a bazaar when the salesman sizes you up and asks, \u201cHow much do you want to pay?\u201d The airline would figure out that answer itself based on your zip code and flying patterns. So if you live in a rich town, they\u2019ll assume you can pay more and quote you higher fares, while folks in poorer communities are offered discounts. To his credit, our U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, along with others in Washington, are questioning the fairness, if not the legality, of all this. They\u2019ve written to the U.S. Transportation Department asking if this plan isn\u2019t hurting more consumers than it\u2019s helping. Airline flights have never been fuller. Because they\u2019ve shrunk their fleets and customer demand has come back, almost 80% of all seats are full on domestic and international flights. Gone are the glory days of my misspent youth when students could fly \u201cstandby\u201d hoping for an empty seat just before departure in return for a 50% discount. That worked only because planes were empty. Today the incentive to get a cheap seat is to book early, weeks in advance, not to show up at the last minute hoping to find an empty seat. There are none. But to price the same seat bought at the same time at two different prices simply because of shoppers\u2019 demographics seems unethical, if not illegal. Airlines are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, national origin. So why would we allow them to, in effect, look at our credit report before quoting us a fare? Jim Cameron is founder of the Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM. The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com. For a full collection of \u201cTalking Transportation\u201d columns, see www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com.