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Best Columns: Fairer fares, Angry fliers

If you

In search of a fairer airfare

If you’re going to fly this summer, get ready for “sticker shock,” says Marshall Loeb in MarketWatch. As you look at fares two to three times what you paid last year, “you can always reconsider your plans.” Or you can look for a better rate. First, of course, comparison shop. Look at three or four travel Web sites, or at a site like Kayak that compares results from about 100 sites, and try a travel agent. If you can, try to avoid flying on the weekend—Tuesdays and Wednesdays are typically the cheapest days to fly. And shop for your tickets in the morning. “The name of the airlines’ game is filling seats,” and “as seats fill up, fares increase.”

In search of a better airline

Why do airlines act like they’re the only ones “being squeezed by fuel and food prices”? says Suzanne Barlyn in TheStreet.com. They are, “understandably, struggling to remain profitable” these days, but they won’t do themselves any favors by “nickel-and-diming my family for baggage.” As opaque as ticket prices are, most passengers wouldn’t take note of a $15-a-ticket fare hike, but asking fliers to pay “extra for the hassle of checking your luggage” is “absurd.” Is Southwest the only airline that understands this? As long as airlines keep “brainstorming about new fees to assess in exchange for below-average service,” they can “count me out.”

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