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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On the Road

Apologies for the paucity of blog entries during the past couple of weeks. I've been on the road, appearing on Top 20 TV stations in the Southwest and the Midwest. For a taste of what I've been up to, visit www.kmov.com/video/?z=y&nvid=363557.

Meantime, for a bit of reading material, visit my travel humor column at http://www.wyndhamworldwide.com/women_on_their_way/jane-air/

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Summer Travel Outlook 2009

The recession will definitely be taking a toll on summer vacationers...or at least those traveling by air. The Air Transport Association of America expects seven percent fewer passengers will be taking to the skies over the U.S. of A. from the beginning of June through the end of August. That's 150,000 fewer flyers per day, and a total of 14 million less than summer 2008. And last summer was no great shakes in itself. The ATA, the airline industry trade group, points out that traffic last summer was off 3.6 percent from the record-setting year of 2007.

Even though fewer people will be flying, that doesn't mean planes will be less crowded. During the past year, airlines have cut back flights or traded down to smaller planes in order to better match diminishing demand.

Internationally, the forecast is for six percent fewer fliers, for a total of only 24 million overseas jet-setters. There will be 32 fewer flights a day from the United States to Europe, the most popular continent for those from this side of the pond.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum XII

Well, they may not be making a profit on ticket sales, but U.S. airlines are certainly raking in the dough thanks to ancillary fees initiated in 2008. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that the U.S. airline industry made $1.15 billion from baggage fees last year. Considering that baggage fees were only in effect for part of the year (major airlines started charging for a second checked bag in May, while American started the trend of charging for the first bag in June), and you can estimate that 2009 income from baggage fees may well double or triple.

According to the DOT, American Airlines made the most in baggage fees last year. AA made $278 million, while US Airways picked up $187 million. Delta rolled in $177 million, United made $133 million, and Northwest totaled $121 million.