Airlines offer deals to get off ground

March 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The drop in fuel prices is making it possible for airlines to offer some amazing deals and it might help get the travel industry off the ground.

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Titus Cotton and his family had no plans to travel in this recession, until they saw round trip tickets to Seattle for $129.

"We figured why not? Let's take advantage of it. It's helping out the airlines. It's helping us out," said Titus Cotton, from San Leandro.

Travel industry analyst, Henry Harteveldt says the airlines are attracting people who were afraid to book tickets too far in advance.

"People don't know if they're going have a job and disposable income several months out, so we're waiting for close-in deals right now," said Harteveldt.

The airlines are making money with extra fees for bag check-in, meals, ticket changes and refunds.

"American Airlines in 2008 earned $2.1 billion in ancillary revenue," said Harteveldt.

International flights are also cheap. One big deal for Wednesday was a $184 roundtrip ticket from San Francisco to London.

"Business increase will spread the wealth around, and it's going to help the hospitality business," said Michael McKee, a travel agent.

However, travel agents warn there are some hidden costs, especially on the international flights.

That London flight included a $222 fuel surcharge.

"So the final price out the door is $584.74," said McKee.

Still, it's not a bad deal. Industry analysts say these low fares are driving spontaneous travel and reducing the fear of spending money.

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