Travelers will start to feel the full force of airline moves to grapple with rising fuel costs by Labor Day, as 10% of flights will be cut, a dip that will downsize the industry to post-9/11 levels, the New York Times reports. The reductions could push fares up by 40% over the next 4 years, on top of 17% hikes in the cost of tickets already this year. Some 100 smaller cities will also lose service.
Several airlines continued to add new fees this week, as Delta joined American and US Airways in charging up to $50 to book a frequent-flier awards ticket. And cutbacks aren't likely to be reversed even if the price of oil falls, the Times notes, since retired jets can't quickly be replaced. “It’s not for the faint of heart,” says JetBlue's CEO of the current environment.