Report: More Fees, Less Choice for Air Travelers

Jet airplane landing into the sunset in Los Angeles California

Jet airplane landing into the sunset in Los Angeles California

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A government report says airline passengers can expect fewer carriers to choose from, fewer flights to smaller cities and more baggage and other fees as the industry continues to grapple with high fuel prices and a weak economy.

The report by the Department of Transportation's inspector general says the airline industry is still in transition after a tumultuous decade in which bankruptcies and mergers cut in half the number of airlines accounting for the bulk of domestic flights, to just five: American, Delta, Southwest, United and US Airways. If US Airways and American merge, that would fall to four.

The report says fuel rose from 10 percent of airline operating expenses in 2000 to a peak of 40 percent in 2008. Last year, fuel accounted for 35 percent of expenses.


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