Fees are up, up and away on U.S. flights

April 9, 2008 at 10:31 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 9 (UPI) -- U.S. airlines have turned to fees and fuel surcharges to offset the rising price of jet fuel, various sources said Wednesday.

Northwest, Delta, Continental and US Airways followed United Airlines' February move in charging $25 for checking a second bag. Delta announced recently it would charge $3 for each bag checked at the curb, The Washington Post reported.

Northwest recently raised the fuel surcharge from $140 to $160 for one-way international flights, the report said.

Because of fuel costs, "there is no airline right now that has a long-term viable business plan," industry analyst Darryl Jenkins told the Post.

Jet fuel is $130 a barrel, up from $90 a barrel last year.

The additional fees are frustrating passengers as they have come during a time of staff and service cutbacks.

Airlines are reducing flights to keep remaining planes packed with passengers. They are also cutting back on meals and raising fees for over-sized bags, sending a child alone on a flight and making reservations by phone, the report said.

"Airlines are going to add as many fees as humanly possible," said Michael Miller, an analyst with the Velocity Group.

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