published Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Keeping airlines afloat

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    In this Jan. 21, 2010 file photo, passengers walk past a Delta Airlines 747 aircraft in McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, Mich. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, file)

A lot of people have complained about the rising baggage fees that airlines are charging these days. After all, it’s unpleasant to have to pay a fee for a service that generally used to be free.

Frustration with the fees has at times prompted Congress to threaten the airlines with additional taxes and regulations — even though those measures would also increase the prices that the American people pay to fly.

What is often missing from the debate is that airlines, like other sectors of the economy, are struggling to stay afloat. Bag fees and fees for other services on flights are helping them remain profitable.

“If it weren’t for the fees, the airlines would most likely be losing money,” one airline analyst with Standard & Poor’s told The Associated Press.

It has become common to hear criticisms of big companies for earning what some consider to be “too much” profit.

But it certainly doesn’t help any of us, or our economy as a whole, when big companies earn little or no profit and go out of business — costing thousands of jobs.

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