Fliers brace for new fee hikes as delays ripple across US

What's behind soaring costs?


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 25, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, are you fed up with those pat-downs and the long waits? Well, get ready to pay up for dare finding a way out.

Now all that extra time you have been waiting at the airport for your flight, just try going ahead and booking an earlier flight. You're going to pay through the nose. Try about 200 bucks on U.S. Airways, about the same on United.

And's Alicia Jao says get ready for more airlines to follow suit.

You know, the double indignity here, Alicia, just staggers me. You're trying to find a quicker, earlier flight out because everything is delayed, and you're penalized for doing so, to add insult to injury.


Consumers today are facing a lot of airline fees. But it's no surprise, since United did make the change, that another legacy carrier, like U.S. Airways would also follow suit.

We will probably...


CAVUTO: Why is it so high, Alicia? I could see 50 bucks. Even that, you know, when you cross your legs, it's 50 bucks. When you walk a certain way or sit in a certain seat, it's 100 bucks. But that seems very steep to me. Why?

JAO: I -- I agree with you.

I definitely don't like having to pay those change fees. And I have -- I have had to do it in the past. The airlines say that it's so high because they need to properly plan for capacity, because they need to fill those seats and they need to make sure that they're profiting from these airline tickets.

So, that's the argument on their side. But, for consumers, especially today, when there are a lot of other airline fees that they're having to pay, it does get very challenging. And I think that we just need to focus on making consumers a little bit more aware, so that they can calculate total costs of their ticket.

CAVUTO: Well, you know what is kind of weird about it, as you pointed out, Alicia, is if you're in a no-win situation, enduring these delays, we're told because of sequestration -- I don't buy that -- but you're dealing with these delays and you're dealing with the indignities that come with some of these screening lines. I swear, when I go through them, they must all be CNN TSA workers because they do a beeline for me, and it's a thorough exam.


CAVUTO: But leaving that aside, when you're trying to find a way out, or you find because of the backup in flights a way out, now a double indignity and paying more for that, and apparently no exception is made for that.

JAO: Right.

There -- I think that the lines, the waits, those are partly not in the airlines' control. That is partly the federal regulations and government that are involved. But it does affect us and it does affect fellow travelers who are trying to make their flight.


JAO: I think where we're really struggling on the things that the airlines can control, is that baggage fees and ticket change fees are -- are a big source of their revenue. And they initially saw huge bumps in 2008 and 2009 when they started to see a lot of growth in that type of revenue.


JAO: But since then, the growth has not been nearly as high, and they're really looking for other areas to increase revenue. And I think, as consumers, we need to understand that these factors...

CAVUTO: That's where the money is. That's where the money -- they get billions off of those fees.

JAO: Yes.

CAVUTO: Alicia, thank you very, very much.

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