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Airlines looking to charge the right amount of fees

United Airlines customer service representative Desiree Yoos (L) takes a her picture inside the cabin while touring the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Los Angeles International Airport on November 30, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif.

There's news this morning that Delta Airlines is reportedly looking to buy a big chunk of Virgin Atlantic, which is riding out a bit of a rough patch.

Seems like profits never come easily in the airline industry. And there are evidently always new ideas for how to pull in a few more bucks from flyers.

The Los Angeles Times' travel and leisure reporter Hugo Martin is fresh from the Airline Information conference, which just took place in San Diego. To him, it looks like fees for checked luggage and extra legroom are really just the beginning.

"Airlines have reams and reams of data on their passengers," says Martin, "so based on that, they're going to be offering you deals." By seeing what kind of food your ordered on a previous flight, or that you paid for Wifi, they can they suggest tailor-made packages the next time you go to book a ticket.

And while passengers seem to be more and more concerned with the rising costs, the airline industry also feels a little cash-strapped because of things like high fuel costs.

"They do say that they don't want to push it too much," adds Martin. "But at the same time, they feel like they're getting pinched themselves."

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.
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