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April 16, 2008 09:12PM
http://dailycamera.com/news/2008/apr/16/the-skies-less-traveled/

The skies less traveled
Air woes a glimpse into the future?

If you think America's skies have become a little less friendly than they once were -- what with bankruptcies, inspection problems and skyrocketing fuel prices -- just wait. Chances are good that the era of convenient, cheap air travel is ending.

In our backyard, the discount airline with the talking animals on its tails, Frontier, declared bankruptcy following an unexpected change in billing from its credit-card processor, First Data of Greenwood Village.

Frontier filed for Chapter 11 and threatened to sue First Data, saying the shift -- the spat is over when the processor sends proceeds on to Frontier, before or after passengers' travel has been completed -- was unfair. First Data says it's industry standard.

Either way, the spat makes clear how precarious Frontier's financial situation is.

Meanwhile, Aloha, Skybus, Champion Air, MAXjet and ATA, all discount outfits, have filed for bankruptcy or plan to shut down. And American Airlines has had to cancel more than 3,000 flights while it completes safety inspections at the behest of the Federal Aviation Administration.

If, upon reading all that, you say, "No worries. I usually fly United," don't get too comfortable. Fuel prices have jetted upward by 74 percent in the last year, and with the war in Iraq looking more interminable than ever, oil-producing nations feeling their oats, and global demand on a steep incline, there's no reason to think that trend is going to change...................

..................All that may just be a preface to a future in which air travel is no longer cheap, or even available; a future in which the truly wealthy may still be able to zip overseas, but most average Americans will be staying much closer to home for vacation. That future, some say, is all but inevitable.............

No worries though, because Air Powered Planes are just around the corner!
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