Consumer Alert: Airfare Sales May Soon Be Harder To Find - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Consumer Alert: Airfare Sales May Soon Be Harder To Find

MSNBC.COM - Good times are finally back for the nation's airlines. For travelers, that means it's getting harder to find bargains.

The summer travel season got off to a roaring start, fares are up, and money is rolling in from fees on things like checked baggage.

The six biggest U.S. airlines earned about $1.3 billion in the second quarter, and more profits are expected for the rest of the year. Even so, airlines are still woozy from the one-two punch of record-high fuel prices followed by a recession. Those six big carriers lost $22.7 billion in 2008 and 2009. And that's just a portion of the $63.35 billion that U.S. passenger airlines lost from 2001 to 2009, according to the Transportation Department.

There were plenty of fare sales when the airlines were struggling to fill seats. Now those seats are in demand, so deals are less common. And travelers are paying for "extras" such as an aisle seat, checking bags and buying a ticket over the phone — things that used to be part of the fare.

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