The Good and Bad of Air Travel Right Now

September 28 2009, 12:22 PM

Airline ticket prices are down by 17 percent, according to AAA, making it a good time to book travel (via 9News). But don't expect to have a great experience. Planes are more crowded than ever, and all kinds of fees are lurking that can douse your enthusiasm at the airport, like an extra $50 to check a second bag on some overseas flights. "You'd think now would be the time they'd try to improve the experience of business travelers who are paying the bills, but they're not," Alan Randolph, 41, an executive vice president of a bank in Florida and regular flier, tells Bloomberg News. Bag fees have more than tripled to $669.6 million in the second quarter from a year earlier, when American Airlines led most major carriers in adopting charges on the first checked piece of luggage. Look for more carriers, such as United Airlines, to add surcharges in coming months. "Passengers just swallowed these fees with barely a whimper, and they're not going away," says Michael Boyd, president of aviation consulting firm Boyd Group in Evergreen. "Why leave money on the table when people will pay you?"

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