Airport check-ins could come at a cost

Low-cost carrier Southwest is airing commercials these days in which hapless travelers are charged a dollar here and a dollar there for everything from snacks to newspapers to pillows and blankets. The gist of the advertising campaign is that while other carriers will nickel and dime you, everything on Southwest is still free.

Of course, Southwest is just about as no-frills a carrier as you're likely to find, but the point is still a good one. Many of the big airlines are charging for things that were complimentary in the past.

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This week, there's news that some airlines may still be looking for more areas where they can make a few bucks. The evidence surfaced in a report from Travel Weekly (registration required), which reads, "European low-cost carrier Flybe revealed that within the next 12 to 18 months, it may begin charging customers for checking in at the airport counter" (instead of online).

What the heck is that all about? Now we'll be penalized if we don't check in online? Folks, if this happens, we're looking at a new low even for the airlines. Let's hope this is one money-making trend that doesn't catch on.

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