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More fees, but at least not another bankruptcy

How quickly times change.

Remember three weeks ago, back before we found out airlines and the FAA weren’t keeping up on safety inspections and way before airlines started going out of business, seemingly without warning?

Back then, the major focus was on new baggage fees, schedule cuts, and other belt-tightening measures (their belts, our waists) airlines were taking to combat rising fuel prices. Well, the trend continues

Northwest is the latest carrier to extend minimum stay requirements for domestic fares. According to Northwest, United, Delta, and American have also increased some minimum stay requirements from one or two nights up to two or three nights. Northwest also announced other moves intended to offset high fuel prices, including increasing fares and fuel surcharges, cutting domestic capacity by 5 percent, and reducing its fleet by 15 to 20 planes.

Not to be left out, Continental has announced a $25 fee for the second checked bag. The policy, which applies to economy-class passengers who aren’t Elite members of Continental’s frequent flyer program, will go into effect on May 5 for destinations in the U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada.

How will this affect airline passengers this summer? Fewer seats stemming from capacity cuts and bankrupt airlines will mean it’s more important than ever to start looking for fares earlier, compare prices, and keep an eye out for sales.

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