Delta, AAL Hike Fares; US Airways Charges For Window Seats
Better plan on yet another unpleasant surprise if you must
travel on commercial airlines. This week, American Airlines and
Delta Air Lines each announced new hikes in their airfares, pushing
full-fare coach prices for a transcontinental flight to over $1,000
The latest price increase is at least the 10th time airlines
have hiked ticket prices this year, reports The New York Times.
While it's not yet known if other airlines will match the increase,
that's a safe bet as fuel prices continue to climb.
Even if other airlines don't match the increased ticket prices,
however, that doesn't mean you'll be cut a break. From charging
monsterous fuel fees, to nickel-and-diming passengers for such
niceties as a meal, checked luggage, or a pittance of extra
legroom... airlines are looking for all the extra money than can
coax out of their customers, as they try desperately to squeak into
Want extra legroom? JetBlue will be more than happy to relieve
your wallet of $10. Ditto if you want a window or aisle seat
towards the front of a US Airways plane.
"If summer travelers are expecting to see the same sorts of air
fares they saw last summer, they’re going to be very
unpleasantly surprised," said Tim Winship, editor of
SmarterTravel.com. "With both the net air fares and what people end
up paying because of the additional fees, everything is going to be
higher in summer 2008 than in summer 2007."
Winship also notes it's becoming harder and harder for
passengers to determine what's included in the price of their
ticket. On most carriers, it includes at least one checked bag, and
two on Southwest; but if you fly on Spirit Airlines, be prepared to
pay as much as $20 to check a single item of luggage.
Some carriers, including American, only disclose the full fare
-- including all applicable fees -- once a customer clicks through
to purchase the reservation on their websites.
"Not only is there no transparency, there is no consistency to
the way the airlines are not transparent," Winship said. "It adds
insult to injury."