Airline fares increase

Summer vacation just got more
expensive, as the five largest U.S. airlines introduced “peak air travel
surcharges” virtually every day while school is out for much of the
country.

American, Continental, Delta,
United and US Airways are adding $10 to $30 on top of published fares every day
(except 4 July) from 10 June to 22 August.

“I think it was to be expected,”
said Gabe Saglie, senior editor at Travelzoo.com. “I think the airline industry, for months
now, has been looking at summer 2010 as the light at the end of the tunnel,
counting on people finally loosening the belt a little bit … after a good
year and a half of belt-tightening or curtailing or even eliminating vacationing.”

Even discount airline AirTran is
getting in on the act, though its surcharge is a flat $10 and applies to only
25 days in that date range, according to data published by Farecompare.com. Other
discount airlines have resisted the trend.

The surcharge is figured into the
final price that travellers are quoted, not listed separately like the
notorious baggage fees that have become common across most of the commercial
airline industry.

Consumers should focus on what they
can do to keep their costs down, Orbitz
spokeswoman Jeanenne Tornatore said. She suggested travellers do the following:

• Book early to take advantage of
advance-booking discounts and to get the best fare dates.

• Be flexible with travel dates.
Fees on Tuesday and Wednesday are going to be less than on Sunday or Friday,
Saglie said.

• Book your airfare and hotel as a
package.

 • Try to avoid extra fees, such as for
baggage. “If you can pack it into a carry-on bag and check less baggage,
you’ll avoid those fees that are on top of the increased airfare,” Tornatore
said.

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