Airline passengers face increased fees

May 23, 2008 7:39:56 AM PDT
Packing heavy could soon make your wallet a whole lot lighter.

Starting with tickets purchased on June 15, American Airlines will be charging $15 for your first checked bag.

Travelers who spoke with Eyewitness Thursday at Raleigh-Durham International Airport say they will reconsider who they fly with next time.

"I know they've got to cut costs somewhere, but I think just hitting the traveler right in the pocket is a bit of a stretch," said Bill Sampson, who flew in from Oklahoma to visit his son in Chapel Hill.

"To charge people extra for baggage with the airline tickets already rising, I think it's absolutely unfair," said Elaine Adams, who landed in RDU after flying from New Jersey.

Many passengers say they fear the other effects the new fee will likely have, both at security checkpoints and once people board the aircraft.

"I think that obviously people are gonna try to beat the system," said Brian Price, who flew into RDU from Boston on his way to the Outer Banks for the Memorial Day weekend.

"People are going to be now getting these bags and trying to stuff as much as they can in them and try to make them fit, I think it's gonna be a lot of chaos," Adams added.

Not all American Airlines passengers will face the fee when checking a bag. Travelers who purchase full-fare tickets will not have to pay; neither will international travelers or passengers with a certain status in the airline's frequent flier program.

The reason for the new charge, not surprisingly, is the skyrocketing cost of fuel.

"It's just another fact of life, and we should've been in oil futures 15 years ago," joked Sampson, who added he will consider driving the next time he visits North Carolina.


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