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More fuel surcharges from the big airlines

At the end of last year, after more than a dozen (mostly successful) attempts to raise fares in the name of higher fuel and operating costs, there was some speculation that airlines would lay off the price increases a bit this year, having exhausted consumers' willingness and ability to keep up with fare rises.

It turns out that line of thinking was a little too optimistic. According to this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, there have already been six increases since late December, upping the cost of a flight by $70 round-trip.

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Fuel surcharges were back in full force this past weekend, when United kicked off the increase attempt by adding up to a $10 fuel surcharge on round-trip flights. American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, and US Airways matched the rise, which is intended to offset the costs of jet fuel. At $3.09 a gallon, gas prices are inching towards the 2005 $3.16 a gallon record high.

I know that the tank sizes are vastly different and that I'm not buying in bulk, so the comparison is flawed, but it just hit me that jet fuel is cheaper than the gas at the station down the street. Maybe it's time to look into super-charging my car. But could I get away with charging my passengers a fuel surcharge? I'd throw in a mini-bag of pretzels and everything.

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