For $9, customers can get expedited check-in and quicker access to the security lanes.
Feb. 28 -- In the ever-competitive airline industry, carriers are constantly generating new fees to generate cash.
With a new $9 fee, United Airlines is offering travelers a speedier trip through security.
United announced Wednesday that it would offer the fee for what it termed "Premier Access." Customers can get expedited check-in and quicker access to the security lanes.
The Chicago-based airline is the number two carrier out of Harrisburg International Airport, behind only US Airways. About 27 percent of HIA's flights are on United planes.
Airlines have charged fees for extra bags or better seats. As a result, consumers have been forced to shell out more cash or change the way they fly.
It's worth noting that airlines pay close attention to each other. If United finds customers willing to pay extra to get through security faster, expect competitors to quickly follow suit.
Last month, Southwest Airlines gained attention for introducing a new option for travelers: select passengers can board the plane first for a $40 fee. Unlike many airlines, however, Southwest doesn't charge a fee for the first two bags.
Rising fares? Some analysts have projected that flying could get more expensive in the future if the merger between American Airlines and US Airways gains federal approval.
At a congressional hearing on the merger earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, a Republican whose district includes much of Perry County, asked officials of both airlines if prices would go up, Reuters reported.
Company executives said they were unsure what would happen on pricing. Stephen Johnson, US Airways executive vice president, said that prices would not rise but he did not know if fares would fall, according to Reuters.
Shop around: Check several search engines when shopping around for flights. Pay attention to the fees airlines charge for bags, seat assignments and meals. The airfare hardly covers the total cost of the flying experience. Here's a handy guide to compare airlines fees on Kayak.
Sound off: Would you pay extra to get through security a little faster? What airline perks are worth extra fees and what fees drive you crazy? Sound off in the comments section below.
Copyright 2013 - The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa.