Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dropping like flies

Perhaps "dropping like flies" is not the most appropriate metaphor to use when talking about airlines, but economic realities seem to be taking their toll on the airline industry. American Airlines is hemorrhaging millions of dollars in the wake of failed safety inspections and consequent flight cancellations. United, Northwest, US Air, Continental and AirTran have all adopted a $25 fee per flight for a second checked bag, ostensibly to cut costs. And now, a number of airlines have begun filing for bankruptcy.

Earlier this year, Aloha Airlines, ATA and Skybus Airlines went belly-up, and just yesterday, Frontier Airlines (a carrier I flew as recently as last December) followed suit. Unlike the others, Frontier sought protection under Chapter 11 to remain operating, so hopefully they'll be able to follow through with their pledge to keep their planes flying.

What I'm most curious about is whether all of the major legacy carriers will make it through this year. They somehow limped through the post-9/11 slump, but can they get past the triple-whammy of widespread flight cancellations, rising fuel costs and falling demand due to recession?

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