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      Travelers paying more to fly; Syracuse airfare up 9.9%

      Susan Banasiewicz knew a weekend with friends in Chicago wouldn't be cheap. She planned ahead and shopped around for airfare - but still wound up having to pay more than she expected for a plane ticket.

      "It was probably a good hundred dollars more and I got this ticket back in June," said Banasiewicz

      In the first three months of 2012, the average airline ticket price in the U.S. went up by 4.8% compared to the first three months of 2011. In Syracuse, the average ticket price went up by 9.9% . Rochester's average ticket price went up 9.7%. Those increases don't include extra costs for checked baggage.

      "They're requiring more and more money for practically everything you do," said Ray DeNeve as his family waited to find out how they would get back home to Charlotte after their plane was delayed.

      Airlines are passing on higher costs to customers but rising fuel costs are also causing carriers to scale back unprofitable routes and reduce discounts.

      As he waited for his plane to board, Mark Price said he shops around on the internet to find low fares. Price says a little bit of time and flexible travel dates can save you hundreds of dollars.

      "I feel like it's hit or miss. you either find what you're looking for or you don't. But most times if you don't find something, 8-10 weeks out, go back two weeks later and usually something will pop up a little bit cheaper," said Price.

      Higher ticket prices have some travelers looking at alternatives to flying for cross country travel.

      When Susan Banasiewicz and Robert Prove were planning a trip from Syracuse to Wisconsin, they looked at how much it would cost to fly four people. They eventually decided on driving. ob prove was planning a trip to Wisconsin this summer - he compared costs and eventually decided that driving four people was more affordable than flying.

      "Between driving, hotels and food - it was still cheaper than flying for all of us," said Prove.

      Studies are currently looking at what effect airline consolidation has had on ticket prices in markets like Syracuse where Delta and Northwest airlines merged.