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(MCT)—Higher air fares aren’t keeping millions of travelers from taking to the skies this summer.

Rising fuel costs have driven airlines to push through fare increases, pinching travelers’ budgets. Domestic fares are up about 15 percent since 2000, and that includes the addition of fees such as those for checked baggage and reserved seats, according to Airlines for America, a major airline industry group based in Washington.

About two-thirds of the respondents to a summer travel survey released by consulting firm Deloitte noticed higher fares, but only 16 percent changed their plans. About 43 percent of travelers use carry-on luggage more often, while 40 percent try to book airlines that don’t charge baggage fees.

Nationally, about 206.2 million people are expected to fly on U.S. airlines this summer, on par with last year. That’s an average of 2.24 million travelers a day. Air travel is still down from its peak in 2007.

Still, some argue that the high price of flying makes other options like driving more attractive, especially for short trips. AAA said the cost of flying versus driving for a family of four on a 1,000-mile round trip is $1,441 when flying and $350 when driving, according to the Car Care Council.

©2012 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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