miles to go?

It seems that the airline industry is trying to spend its way out of the recession - or rather, getting us to spend our way out the recession. Hapless travellers are now expected to pay extra for everything: from checking bags to having a measly blanket or getting an aisle seat. Passengers are the gift that keeps on giving, as far as the airlines are concerned.

But when it comes to hitting rock bottom, there's still miles to go. No, literally - air miles' days are numbered according to Peter Greenberg, NBC's Travel Correspondent. Yesterday on www.petergreenberg.com, he warned about the imminent demise of United's air mile scheme:

"I worry that United Airlines, which has already wrung everything they could out of bankruptcy, will fail in the fourth and the first quarters-which are the toughest to get through. It's not a coincidence that most airlines go under in March, because they just can't get enough money to make it to summer.I am not sure what other cuts United can make. So, if you have any miles accumulated on airlines like United, I suggest you figure out a way to redeem those miles on their partner airlines.

You can do that or you can go to an art supply store, get a picture frame, and hang your miles on the wall.

They are being devalued by the hour and if the airline goes out of business, so do the miles."

This rings true: we're already paying more to cash in our air miles, so it stands to reason pretty soon they'll be phased out altogether. As for the suggestion that we buy a frame to hang them in, don't give the airlines ideas Peter - the airlines will flog us huge frames at the Sky Mall, then charge us extra for carrying them.

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