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Fuel costs fall, air fares may follow

October 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The cost of fuel is dropping, but air travelers are still going to face some difficulties this holiday season. Every year the holiday season is one of the worst to travel. First of all, it's the busiest time at the airport and secondly, it's the most expensive.

This year because of the higher fuel prices, travelers will be hit extra hard over the Thanksgiving crush.

Plus, according to farecompare.com, airlines have cut way back on the number of seats available -- not to mention the airlines that are now out of business.

"We did lose Aloha Airlines earlier this year, and that had an impact on our overall loss in passenger travel for the year," said Jenny Wedge, John Wayne Airport spokeswoman.

Other problems with fewer flights and seats are delays and with delays come misconnections, more cancelled flights and possible an increase in lost luggage.

In addition to the higher fares, don't forget the extra fees such as luggage charges that airlines are now adding to the price of a ticket.

"That's why I carry on. I've gotten really good and packing the roller-bag and the briefcase and not checking bags," said Louellen Long, an air traveler.

Like it or not, these extra surcharges airlines added because of high fuel prices are not going away soon, at least not on domestic carriers. Airlines say that the cost of jet fuel is still well above last year's prices.

"Even if prices do come down today, they're planning for the future knowing that it was a difficult year for them and just what they need to do to continue operating," said Wedge.

Now here's a bit of airline news that just might lift your spirits. Because of the economy, corporate air travel is way down, so there's less demand.

As a result airlines are expected to lower their air fares between Christmas and the Thanksgiving holiday -- making it a good time to buy. - Get more L.A. breaking news, weather, traffic and sports
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