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Delta Adds Another Fee for Flights

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RALEIGH — Travel agents and travelers are criticizing a new move to bring airfares to new heights.Delta Air Linesis tacking on an extra fee for personalized attention.

O'Neil Williams has never booked an airline ticket over the Internet for one simple reason.

"I like the availability of being able to talk to a live person and choose my seats," he says.

But he and other Delta customers might want to try booking flights via the web.

The airline has started charging an extra $2 to anyone who doesn't.

Delta says it's charging the fee to help offset the rising costs of traditional booking methods.

Those methods include travel agents, who've already been hit with lower commissions from airlines. Agents say this is just another part of that trend.

"Their goal is to reduce their distribution costs and if they don't have to pay a commission to a travel agent, then it make it a lot cheaper for them to issue their tickets," says travel agent Phil Kraemer.

Kraemer says this won't hurt his business, since he's not booking many airline tickets anyway.

But he says consumers are the ones who will feel it by not getting personalized attention for their travel needs.

Delta customers atRDU International Airporthad different opinions.

"If they're going to be able to reduce their labor costs to get tickets booked, I think it's a good idea," said traveler Russ Reiman.

"I don't think it's fair. A lot of people can't access the Internet for a number of reasons. Some just can't afford it," Beverly Downing said.

Those who can't will be charged extra to fly on Delta -- at least until the idea takes off with other airlines as well.

The $2 fee went into effect this week.


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