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U.S. air travel options shrink as carriers struggle

Travel Forums General Talk U.S. air travel options shrink as carriers struggle

1. Posted by kamilo37 (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y

First it was soaring ticket prices and vanishing bargain fares, then new baggage fees. Now air travelers are facing dwindling choices for when they can fly and where — even to such popular tourist destinations as Las Vegas and Orlando.

The problem? Record oil prices are pushing airlines toward financial disaster...

That's bad news for travelers, especially those who fly with smaller regional airports - They are losing more flights and service, and it's almost certain to get worse unless oil prices drop and take the pressure off airlines to keep shrinking.

For the next year or so, the forecast doesn't look bright in terms of fares and flight options, but for the savvy traveller there is indeed a great low to no cost travel option available that can be implemented.

It's called traveling as an air courier. And it's perfectly legal. Thousands of travelers do it every year. As an air courier, you fly like any other passenger on the plane, enjoying the same comforts and amenities. There are only two differences. First, you don't have any checked luggage (just your carry-on bags). And second, you don't pay full fare for your ticket. In fact, you may not pay anything at all.

I love this technique. As the price of oil teeters around $130 a barrel, airlines around the world are feeling the pinch - And that pinch takes simultaneous effect on our ticket prices. But, with the right guidance you can actually be paid to fly to Zurich...or Paris...or Rome. All you have to do in return is agree to carry time-sensitive business cargo (it could be files or computer discs, for example) to your destination.

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

2. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 8y

What? I'm pretty sure FedEx or whoever can ship a CD without my help. Why would anyone pay people to carry stuff that can be shipped for a lot less through established companies who do this for a living?

There must be a catch--and I'm thinking it's none too legal.

3. Posted by kamilo37 (Budding Member 3 posts) 8y

You're right, the major freight companies - such as Federal Express and DHL International - fly their own planes and therefore have no need of couriers. Smaller operations, however, must rely on courier services to arrange for the transport of their parcels. These freight companies contact a courier service, which in turn tries to find a free-lance courier who wants to fly -- immediately -- to Germany, for example. If you happen to call the courier service that same afternoon, you're on your way to Europe.

4. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y

Hmm, do they actually really need a person on the plane with a package? Sounds unbelievable to me.... that would make couriering anything cost well over 2 grand.

Not only that, but if there is anything in your bags like say, erm, drugs, you're the one that's screwed. I would certainly not recommend anyone to do this unless it's a legit operation (big company, but of course those already have their own planes) and you can pack your own bag yourself and it contains only documents (ie. nothing that could remotely house anything else!).

I personally think the real cost of flying is only just starting to be materialize and more expensive flights is just the beginning.

5. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru 1167 posts) 8y

I agree with Sam and Tway
I would never ever take the risiko to end up in jail.
Everybody is warned not to take something from a person you dont know or transport something you have not seen.
when friends of mine fly to Europa they take gifts or letters from me,I never pack it or close it.When I get things from Germany I had bought I always tell my friends to open the parcel (I dont think the will send drugs back).
Just last week the daughter of my friend checked in at the airport together with her fiance and there 2 year old child for there flight to Amsterdam.My friend had advised
her daughter not to take anything from other people not even from her fiance in her or the childs luggage.Shortly before bording the drug police called them out,the found in the luggage from him 500 gram kokain.the girl was aloud to fly the next day,she was lucky that the bastard had nothing in her or the childs,but he had her made the luggage check in in her name.I dont know how this would have endet up in Amsterdam for her.

6. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 8y

Let's face it, we've all gotten used to ultra cheap air travel, and now that it's getting a tad expensive, we're all up in arms. I do truly feel sympathy for US air carriers, but the fact is that it's the big legacy guys like AA and UA, who are hurting, owe many of their woes to their union payrolls. The newer non-union lines like SWA and Virgin seem to be doing just fine. I wonder if they'd allow foreign lines to compete domestically and help add to the inventory of flights? One thing's for sure, we're going to see a much different industry next year!

7. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 8y

The airlines are the least of our problems

New conservative South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has seen his political honeymoon cut short in part because of sharp criticism of his handling of the energy crisis.

"The explosion in global transport costs has effectively offset all the trade liberalization of the last three decades," said analysts Jeff Rubin and Benjamin Tal of the Canadian investment banking firm CIBC World Markets Inc.

Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim told lawmakers last week the country plans to acquire 50 new ships and build a $600 million nuclear-powered submarine to protect valuable offshore oil fields along the country's southeast coast, a reflection of the increased value of the oil deposits there.

Just about every aspect of life could get harder.