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Airlines Passing High Gas Prices Onto Travelers

By ABC-7 Reporter/Anchor Ashlie Hardway

EL PASO – It seems we’re paying more for everything; gas, groceries and airplane tickets. Airline carriers have upped the ante by instituting fees for things like second bags and in-flight refreshments.

Most carriers that fly out of the El Paso International Airport are now charging $25 for your second checked bag; they include Delta, American, Continental and U.S. Air. American is also charging $15 for the first checked bag.

Airline carriers are citing sky-rocketing jet fuel prices as the reason; since bags weigh more, they cause the planes to burn more fuel. The Associated Press reports jet fuel prices soared 77% within this past year.

“I think they’re trying to nickel & dime you anyway they can and they’ll use any excuse and this is a good excuse. So, they decided well, let’s go for it,” said Express Jet passenger Sue Ellen Cox. Cox told ABC-7 she was not charged for a second bag.

Some airlines have also raised the fees for oversized or overweight bags. Delta now charges $80 for an overweight bag; they used to charge $50. Continental charges $50 for bags weighing 51-70 pounds and $100 for bags weighing 71-100 pounds. A third checked bag on Continental will run you $100.

Delta has raised the cost of taking a pet on-board as a carry-on; it went from $50 to $100 one-way. That free soft-drink or juice usually provided on U.S. Air flights will now cost $2; alcoholic beverages will cost $7.

All of the fees are charged per-trip. If you fly round-trip, you can double the amount you’ll have to pay. Also, most fees apply to economy or coach-class passengers; those flying business or first-class usually don’t have to pay for checked-bags or beverages.

Southwest Airlines is not charging for a second checked bag or refreshments. Their fares, however, have increased by about $7-8 per trip. American, United and Delta are increasing ticket fares by $20 for round-trip domestic flights.

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