Searching for summer bargains on airfares? Forget about it.
Bad news is piling up for families looking to fly overseas or even cross-country for vacations. Airlines are cutting flights, adding fees and fuel charges, trimming frequent-flier benefits and reducing customer service personnel, particularly at airport counters, the Los Angeles Times reports.
It's not just the airlines. The declining dollar is making overseas travel a no-go for many Americans, even those who are used to shopping excursions and Mediterranean cruises.
Delta Air Lines this week underlined the issue facing travelers and the industry. It announced plans to ground more than 40 planes and slash domestic flights by 10%. On Wednesday it raised domestic airfares by $10.
It's happening all over the airport. United Airlines and Northwest Airlines said they too would cut domestic flights, and analysts said other big carriers were likely to follow. Shortly after Delta's latest fare hike, American Airlines and Northwest raised fuel surcharges on international round-trip flights by $20. Fuel fees, which airlines charge on top of the base fare, now average about $200 for longer international round trips, or about double last year's average, according to Bestfares.com.
With fewer flights this summer, travelers can expect higher fares and planes even more packed than today, prompting some families to forgo flying altogether.
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