U.S. Airlines Experiencing Turbulence

Airfares, baggage fees and fuel surcharges have all changed drastically this year as the ever-ailing airline industry struggles with higher oil prices and a softening economy. Despite these …

Airfares, baggage fees and fuel surcharges have all changed drastically this year as the ever-ailing airline industry struggles with higher oil prices and a softening economy. Despite these higher charges, American Airlines, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, United and US Airways all reported losses in the third quarter because of spikes in their fuel budgets.

Business travel has decreased significantly as companies seek to cut expenses, and as the holidays approach, travelers will face fewer available flights and more confusing fees than last year. Here we provide you with a rundown of the fees for the “Big Five” U.S. legacy carriers and a few smaller ones to help you know what goes into—and gets added onto—the price of your tickets. It is also worth noting which airlines are facing more layoffs and shakier finances, as this can affect local economies as much as it may affect your travel plans. All data are accurate as of Nov. 5, 2008.

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