It's another perfect storm for the airline industry. And individuals that fly for pleasure or business are already being pulled in.
Those record high prices consumers are paying at the pump for gasoline are also reflected in the woes of U.S. airline carriers, whose jet fuel cost is expected to total $60 billion this year, quadruple what was paid in 2000.
Estimates are that the industry will lose a record $7.2 billion this year, with carriers already losing roughly $60 per passenger round trip.
Airline budgets weren't built around $125 per barrel costs for oil any more than consumers' budgets were built for $4.50 for a gallon of gas.
With thoughts of higher prices and a possible recession, vacationers who had already purchased their summer airline tickets may have believed their costs were already fixed. Not exactly.
American Airlines wants $15 per bag for checked luggage as of June 15.
Bringing your golf clubs along? You may need to pay an extra $25 per trip for the privilege.
Have a seat preference or need more legroom? That may cost you another $10 to $35 on JetBlue or Northwest.
Your child or pet isn't immune either. These and other annoying, unexpected fees are ways of getting more from travelers without an even greater increase in ticket prices.
Bargain cross-country and weekend flights are rapidly disappearing. Soon it may be hard to find more than one flight a day to some smaller cities. Those non-stop cross-country flights will be decreased, as it is far cheaper to stop and refuel. And a more efficient GPS-based air traffic control system and regular use of biofuels are years away.
The airline industry is no stranger to consolidation or reorganization under bankruptcy, and that trend is bound to continue, with its negative impact. As expected, it will be survival of the fittest, and those survivors may not include some of today's players.
One airline executive believes a major airline could be one of the victims of the current climate and may have to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy -- not Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Forced to liquidate, the carrier may just disappear, like TWA or Pan-Am. Industry experts expect a couple of dominant players, along with a few discounters like SouthWest, left standing.
Airlines are not the only ones facing serious economic issues.