Saving money can start at home when you pack. And don't think squeezing everything into one bag will save money.
Northwest Airlines doesn't — yet — charge for that first checked back. But it has joined the other airlines in charging passengers $25 each way for a second checked bag. Like the other airlines, it has also increased other baggage fees. People who used to pay $80 for three or more checked bags will now pay $100. The price for a heavy bag that weighs more than 50 pounds used to be $25. Now it's $50.
It's enough to make your head spin.
These fees are all on top of some fees imposed post-9/11, which include buying food on domestic flights. (Continental remains the one major airline to still offer such an amenity.)
The airlines have also raised other existing fees, such as the charge to change flights and the fees to book tickets over the phone with a live person instead of over the Internet.
The high ticket costs and fees might drive away some leisure and budget-conscious travelers.
Even Mann, who makes his living off the airlines, recently chose an alternative.
"I had to travel to meet a client on short notice last week," he said. "The New York to Baltimore flight cost $850 round trip, so I took an Amtrak train," which Mann said was about $600 cheaper.
"But unfortunately, that alternative doesn't exist all around the country."