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ABC7 On Your Side: Air travel

June 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
More airline cutbacks were announced on Thursday, this time from Continental, as the industry battles a crisis brought about by high fuel prices. So what does this mean for air travelers?If you think filling up your gas tank hurts, imagine the pain of topping off a passenger plane. Sadly, the airlines don't have to imagine it -- the skyrocketing cost of fuel is being blamed for Continental's recent woes. It will ground 67 planes and slash 3,000 jobs. And United Airlines says it will shut down its airline Ted, taking 70 planes out of circulation.

It's getting tougher to make ends meet these days, and ABC7 On Your Side is a campaign to help you save money. Watch Eyewitness News for money-saving tips and freebies to help stretch your dollar.

The end result, experts say, is higher fares for everyone.

"Prices are going to be up. I mean, we got basically at least two more increases in the month of May, and we've had 15 attempted increases this year, and 11 of them widely successful," said Rick Seaney from FareCompare.com.

As high as the fares are, your real cost to fly is even higher. Airlines are turning over every cushion they can to find extra revenue. That is why fliers are getting hit with fuel surcharges, extra baggage fees, and other added costs.

"People call it nickel-and-diming, but the fact is if airlines went out and raised their prices, raised their fares by the same amount, people would just rebel and not pay," said David Field from Airline Business Magazine.

But even though prices are soaring as high as the planes can cruise, people are still flying. Travel agents say the key to finding the best price boils down to two things -- book early before prices jump again, and be flexible with your schedule.

"Instead of going Saturday to Saturday, can you change your plans to travel Wednesday or Thursday? Also, the time of travel. Maybe if you can take a really early flight or a really late flight in the day, the air fares may be different," said Rhonda Holguin from Montrose Travel.

Different as in cheaper, which isn't a word used much in travel these days. While the planes always have to come down, the prices don't.

 

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