High fuel prices prompt airline cutbacks

FRESNO, Calif.

Airlines are charging more for flights and putting more people on the planes. Travelers at Fresno Yosemite International Airport told Action News they are getting creative when booking their flights. But their flight plans don't always take off.

The number of jet setting travelers is growing but so are fuel budgets for airlines around the world.

"About four months ago I was paying like $700 and about $1,000," said Aida Chavez.

Chavez flies to Mexico twice a year. Since ticket prices have shot up she's started booking her flights months in advance. "Normally I do procrastinate, but this time I didn't," she said.

"Every time the price of oil rises a dollar, that costs the industry $1.6 billion," said CheapAir.com CEO Jeff Klee. CheapAir.com is a southern California-based online travel company. It said high fuel costs are not the only reason ticket prices are soaring. Airlines are cutting back on routes and in some cases seats.

That's something Mariah Mathews and her mom, Bonnie, experienced Friday, as they flew into Fresno.

They were bumped from their choice seat near the wing, to the back row, next to the restroom.

"They decided to change the plane and they also decided to change the entire seating arrangement, so that was frustrating," Mathews said.

Bonnie Carver said she's avoiding paying high ticket prices, which for her have gone up several hundred dollars per round trip from Atlanta to the Bay Area. But crowded flights are proving to be a pain.

"It's getting to be more difficult to use our sky miles at a time that's convenient," Carver said.

Despite it all, these travelers said they'll continue to fly. For them, it's cheaper and more convenient than driving.

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