• Expert: Airlines to continue tacking on fees

    By: Scott Wickersham


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The airline industry pulled in a record $38 billion last year in checked baggage, reservation changes and other fees.
    An airline expert University of North Carolina at Charlotte Peter Schwarz told anchor Scott Wickersham to not expect any changes soon because airline mergers are reducing competition while demand for flying is up.
    “It’s become a great money-maker,” Schwarz said. “You wonder if they can think of anything else and there are some things they can think of. You almost hate to suggest them.” 
    Some international airlines make customers pay to reserve a seat assignment like if they prefer a window seat, Schwarz said.
    More carriers also charge for entertainment like movies or Wi-Fi.
     “I like that I can carry it on and not pay,” Tom Zak, of Charlotte, said. “But it’s a pain. I always checked my bag but now carry one because of the fees.”
    Customers like Zak flooded cabins with carry-on luggage.
    One airline trade group tried to reduce the size of carry-ons forcing more people to pay for luggage checked in.
    “Given the pushback that may not be one they go after again,” Schwarz said. “It’s a fascinating subject because they created the situation and now they want to profit from it twice.”
    The U.S. Justice Department is investigation into whether major airlines are working together to keep airfares high.
    The average domestic flight last year cost $391 -- the highest prices since they started tracking fares two decades ago.

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