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Air travelers frustrated with costs

June 20, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The good old days of low fare air travel are slowly disappearing. They are being replaced by higher fares and a dizzying array of special fees. "Our fare from Oregon to Tennessee was right around $500 and it has gone up to around $1,200," said business traveler Mike Dooley.

The soaring cost of jet fuel has forced a number of air carriers into bankruptcy, while the rest scramble to find new ways to pay for gas.

US Air, United and American are all now charging fees for luggage. Others add the fee only for a second bag.

Southwest has resisted the baggage fee temptation, but it's fares like every other airline are climbing steadily. It's forcing Donna Sells of Phoenix to change her family's travel habits.

"Last time we drove out and it was a six hour drive from Phoenix to Del Mar," said Sells.

In addition to fees and fare increases many airlines are cutting flights to save money. For consumers that means there will be fewer to select from and even higher fares.

"So the fares will be higher and the fees are also higher," said travel agent Rhonda Holguin.

Holguin says airline prices change so fast it's hard to keep up. Fees to change a ticket have skyrocketed from $100 to $150.

And schedules are changing too. Which means its important to check even hours before a flight to make sure it's still going.

"It is not easy anymore the changes continue to roll and they are not finished yet," said Holguin.

Experts say that airline fare and fee changes will continue until the price of oil starts to drop.

 

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