Airfares Head Higher, Thanks to Recent Airline Mergers

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shutterstock_136198127If you headed out on summer vacation with your family this year, you might have noticed that airfares have gone up. But why? According to Yahoo! Finance, one of the reasons is the fact that there have been more airline mergers in recent years.

Since 2005, the number of major airlines has dropped to five from nine, thanks in large part to mergers. Yahoo! Finance reports that the government just rejected a merger between U.S. Airways and American Airlines in the name of keeping airfares under control for consumers, but for many fliers, it’s too late.

Fees, Fees, and More Fees

The article points out that fees are increasingly becoming a significant source of revenues for airlines. I remember a time when I didn’t have to worry about how many bags I brought along; they all flew free. Then, airlines introduced fees for a second checked bag. Now there are very few airlines that even allow you to check one bag for free.

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Fees keep on rising as well. You pay premium fares if you want more leg room (read: a seat on the emergency aisle), and you might pay extra even for meals and drinks that used to be complementary. Some airlines also recently increased what they charge for changes to a ticket; it can cost as much as $200 now. And when one airline raises fees, the others tend to follow suit, leaving consumers unable to switch.

There are a couple of bright spots, including JetBlue, which still has lower fees than many other airlines, and Southwest, which has yet to pile on the fees. But how soon till these airlines join the crowd?

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Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger specializing in financial topics. Her work has appeared in numerous media, online and offline. Her blog is Planting Money Seeds.