Local News

Is the Airline Industry in a Tailspin?

Posted April 11, 2008 6:21 p.m. EDT
Updated April 11, 2008 6:25 p.m. EDT

— Frontier Airlines on Friday became the latest airline to file for bankruptcy.

In the past four days, American Airlines has canceled almost 2,500 flights affecting more than 300,000 passengers – at least 600 on Friday – 10 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

The airline says it expects to be fully operational by the end of the weekend.

But some experts say it's another frustrating sign that the industry's image is quickly losing altitude.

"It hasn't been a pleasant experience in the past few years," local travel agent Tony Maupin says.

High fuel prices are making it more unsettling for airlines, Maupin said.

"Prices have gone up but not as quickly as we would expect them to go up," he said.

Instead, the airlines are charging extra for things like more than one bag, for curbside check-in and for sitting in an exit row.

"I think you will see some consolidation taking place," Maupin said. "It has to for this industry to survive."

He says that with less competition, it is likely prices will increase. But the quality of service could also improve, he said.

"Ii think you'll see more seats with greater comfort, perhaps massages."