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High Oil Prices Spark Airplane Fees

Rising fuel costs has prompted airline carriers to look for ways to increase revenue. One idea is to charge travelers for items that were once free, including on-board sales of food, drinks, pillows, blankets and entertainment. Industry officials say airlines prefer complex fees to additional fare hikes because people will quit buying tickets if airlines raise prices too high.

American Airlines, United-Continental and Delta are among the carriers considering various new fees. The airlines have proposed charging customers for seat assignments, where a family of 4 will start paying anywhere from $10 to $16 to choose their seats.

Elite or business and first-class passengers would be exempt from the airlines’ proposed seat assignment fee. Travel experts believe airlines will waive the fee for travelers who book a flight and choose their seat within the last 24 hours. But fliers may pay a fee if they want to choose and confirm their seat well in advance.

Other proposed fees include charging for customized travel, including fancy food and champagne in economy class, security-line services and travel-concierge services.

TSA Agent Linked to Drug Dealers

A TSA agent was arrested for helping a drug dealer get past security at Buffalo’s Niagara International airport on Tuesday. According to The Buffalo News, 43-year-old Minneta Walker was watched for months after federal agents became aware of her ties to local drug dealers.

The Buffalo TSA bust is the most recent example of a crackdown on airport crime over the past year. In February, 2 TSA workers at New York’s JFK airport were arrested for stealing nearly $40,000 from passengers. Just 2 days before, a Newark Liberty Airport supervisor was charged with stealing $30,000 over a 13-month period.

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