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The state of U.S. airlines

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American Airlines Expected To Cut 15,000 Jobs
An American Airlines passenger planes takes off from Los Angeles International airport.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With the increase of low-cost airline carriers such as Spirit and JetBlue, the experience of travel has changed and flier satisfaction has dropped. At the same time, fares are rising, but airlines don't appear to be making money. How has the culture of travel changed, and what is the future of airlines in America?

Ben Mutzabaugh, USA Today reporter and the author of the 'Today in the Sky' blog, joined The Daily Circuit Thursday to talk about the industry.

Fees are a major complaint when it comes to flying, but Mutzabaugh said the additional charges were a matter of survival for airlines.

"The oil spike of 2008 really threatened to put airlines out of business," he said. "Fortunately that spike didn't last very long but it was such a scary prospect that they had to put everything on the table in terms of survival. I don't think the airlines through a $25 bag free is going to save them, but it bought them some time and got them some revenue."

William McGee, a former airlines operations manager and an aviation journalist, also joined the discussion. He was a guest on public radio show Fresh Air last month, talking about his new book "Attention All Passengers."

"It's not your imagination that there are more people flying on each flight," he said on Fresh Air. "The average percentage of occupied seats on a plane these days is over 80 percent. That means a great number of flights are at 100 percent. [That has] led to all of the other problems related to service: delays, canceled flights, lost baggage, consumer complaints and passengers being involuntarily bumped off flights. ... Flying is just not a pleasant experience."

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