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United adds fuel surcharge and may ground planes

Flying can be a nightmare during the holiday season, especially when airlines are behaving like a scrooge. After several fare hikes since Labor Day, United has now added a $5 one-way and $10 round-trip fuel surcharge.

This new surcharge is in response to the rise in crude oil prices, which according to United have increased from $55 per barrel nine months ago to $96 per barrel today. And the rise doesn't necessarily show signs of stopping.

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If rising fuel costs end up affecting ticket sales, the airline may have to ground 100 airplanes, which would mean fewer flight options that would eventually force higher capacity on other flights. The logic behind this may be a tad bit off, because people may be deterred from flying due to the airline's fare hikes, fuel surcharges, and lack of added customer service. The old adage of "you get what you pay for" no longer rings true, because the only thing that has changed about flying is the price.

I doubt it will be long before other airlines decide to add fuel surcharges as well, and just in time for the holidays. If you haven't booked your flight home, I say do so immediately before the airlines add another surcharge or fare hike.

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