Domestic airfares have been climbing steadily since 2009, and there was no letup last year.
But the uptick in ticket prices was not as steep as in the last few years.
Domestic airfares increased 4.2 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year to an average of $427 per ticket, according to Airlines Reporting Corp., an Arlington, Va., company that completes the financial transactions between 16,000 travel agents and 187 airlines.
The good news is that the fare increases have been shrinking. In 2010, domestic airfares rose nearly 13 percent and climbed 8.5 percent in 2011, according to federal statistics.
But don't celebrate just yet. The fees that Spirit Airlines of Florida and Allegiant Air of Las Vegas charge to bring carry-on bags into the cabin may be adopted by other major airlines in the next year.
That prediction comes from George Hobica, founder of the travel website Airfarewatchdog, who got the tip from a source at one of the nation's largest airlines.
Travelers hate airline fees, but Mr. Hobica points out that deterring carry-on bags can speed up the time it takes to load and unload passengers.
Mr. Hobica predicts that once one of the nation's larger airlines -- United, Delta or American -- adopts a carry-on fee, other carriers would follow.
"Don't see why they wouldn't do it," he said.
Southwest owes free drinks
For millions of Southwest Airlines passengers, the drinks are on the house.
The airline has reached a tentative settlement with passengers who sued Southwest over drink vouchers that were given to "business select" passengers before Aug. 1, 2010.
On that date, Southwest changed its policy, saying that even though the drink vouchers had no expiration date, the airline would honor them only on the date passengers were traveling.
In the lawsuit filed in 2011, the plaintiffs, Adam Levitt and Herbert Malone, said the policy change amounts to a breach of contract and made the coupons worthless. The airline had previously said that it changed its policy because passengers were making photocopies of the vouchers to get free drinks.
Under the settlement, Southwest could be on the hook to redeem as many as 5.8 million vouchers. Since the airline charges $5 for alcoholic drinks, the settlement is worth as much as $29 million. The airline is also responsible for paying attorney fees of as much as $7 million.
If you think Southwest owes you a drink, go to www.southwestvouchersettlement.com to get details on how to file a claim for a new voucher. You must file before Sept. 2.