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Airlines charge more to exchange tickets

Want to change a plane ticket? Get ready to pay more - $90 or $100 in some cases.

Last week, Continental Airlines raised the fee for switching a nonrefundable, advance-fare ticket from $75 to $100. American also increased the rebooking or cancellation fees for many nonrefundable tickets to $90.

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The fees most often apply when travelers buy tickets and change the travel date later, or cancel a trip and apply the money paid for the ticket to a future flight. The increase will mostly affect leisure travelers since business fliers tend to book pricier, refundable tickets at the last minute.

Industry watchers predict other airlines will soon do the same. "They're nickel-and-diming us everywhere we go," says Tom Parsons, chief executive of Bestfares.com. But Sarah Anthony, spokeswoman for Continental, defended the decision, saying it compensates airlines for "revenue lost anytime someone who makes a reservation decides to arbitrarily change it."

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society