ATLANTA--With the summer travel season about to get into full swing, fasten your seat belts and sharpen your pencil. The airfares are going up and the choices of how to get where you want to go are going down.
Despite more than 95 million passengers expected to pass through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport this year -- and both Delta and Southwest reporting record profits -- the fares are still going up.
Airlines Reporting Corp. says fares are going up more than 9 percent from Atlanta to New York; 8 percent to Orlando and 4 percent to Washington, and more than 6 percent on flights from Atlanta to Europe.
And going to Europe? Expect those fares to jump more than 6 percent.
Passengers are digging in to save money.
"Expedia, Hotwire, Priceline…I go through all of these then I compare the prices and try to get a better value for me," said Pinkie Carter, an airline passenger leaving on a Southwest flight.
"I work too hard for my money. And I don't like the fares going up," she added.
A key factor in fares going up: airline mergers. That translates to fewer flights, fewer choices and less competition. Delta teaming up with Northwest; Southwest buying AirTran; United and Continental merging; and American and US Airways combining fleets.
But while deep discounters like Spirit and Frontier are charging less for the basic fares, there is a catch. Extra fees.
Bring a bag on-board and use the overhead bin and it will cost you from $20 to $50.
But it could even be more. If you do not go online or pay at the counter, your carry-on will cost you $100 at the Gate on Spirit—and that's each way.
"They'll get you with the fees after the fact. So you think you are going to get a $99 flight to Vegas and its going to $300 in the end," said airline passenger Sjonneke Jones.
Be sure to check out the airline and fare based websites to get the best deals before you shell out the cash.
They include: Kayak.com; Expedia.com; Orbitz.com; Priceline.com: Travelocity.com;
Bestfares.com; Google Flight Search; Farecompare.com; Airfarewatchdog.com; Farecast.com; and Sidestep.com