Major Airlines Adding More Flight Fees

by Brooke Hart

NBC News

We already know that car travel is more expensive because of gas prices.  Well, starting today air travel costs a bit more too.  United Airlines is charging for something we used to take for granted.

This is about more than a new $15 charge for checked bags.  Experts say this is about an industry in survival mode.

Time was the ticket price included these things, but no more.

Starting today, United charges $15 to check the first bag, that announcement came just yesterday.

American does the same on Sunday, U.S. Airways does it next month.

And here's another hit from U.S. Airways:  get ready to pay $2 a drink, and that's not for alcohol.  That's $2 per soda, juice, bottled water and coffee.

Airline industry expert Terry Trippler says,"with the cost of fuel, the airlines are doing whatever they can to, uh, keep afloat."

Industry groups say the price of jet fuel is up 90% in the last year, more than 200% since the year 2000!

U.S. Airways announced other changes too:  buying a ticket by phone will go up to $25.

Airline passenger Ike Spencer says, "I'll pick my airline very carefully,and when I don't have to fly, I won't fly."

The airline is also slashing 1,700 jobs and shrinking its fleet.  It's returning ten planes, canceling leases on two more, and planning to park more through 2010.

In the meantime, starting today expect a race to those overhead storage bins, with passengers bound to try to bring more on board.

One alternative is sending bags through a courier:  some passengers use Fed-Ex, but there are about 16 door-to-door services that at least, save you the wait at baggage claim.