So you've figured out how to get all of your stuff in a carry-on bag to avoid the new checked luggage fees. You've brought your own nibbles to prevent the need to buy on board. You've even booked your flight months in advance to avoid fuel surcharges. Guess what, dude? You're still going to have to reach into your wallet as airlines come up with increasingly annoying ways to nickel and dime you.
To wit, US Airways is going to charge two bucks a pop for soda and other non-alcoholic beverages starting August 1. As to not offend the teetotalers, alcoholic drinks will go up from $5 to $7. US Airways is coming up with other creative ways to make money (sure to be followed by the other carriers). Starting August 6, the airline will charge a new "award redemption processing fee" for all frequent-flyer tickets. Mileage tickets in the continental United States and Canada will cost $25. Flights to Mexico and the Caribbean will cost $35, and flights to Hawaii or to international destinations outside of North America will cost $50. But at least there's some egalitarianism in US Airways' policy. The carrier will no longer award bonus miles on paid flights flown by its elite frequent-flier members.
Complain about fees now, but be warned. There will be more of them, and ticket prices are likely to go sky-high after Labor Day. That's when high-demand, non-discretionary business travel makes a comeback, and when the airlines start paring their fleets. As any student of Economics knows, when supply and demand are going in opposite directions, something's got to give. And that something is low airline ticket prices.