May 21st, 2008
06:54 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Up, up and away

Erica Hill
360° Correspondent
I can’t believe we are days away from the unofficial start to summer: Memorial Day. I know, it’s not the solstice, but who needs one when there’s a sale everywhere you look? And we’ll need them. Chances are, this Memorial Day weekend will be different from years past. Maybe you’ve decided to skip the road trip this year (AAA says you’re not alone) thanks to the ever-increasing cost of gas. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but sticking around the home front may not be much of a bargain, either.


Everything from beer to buns to briquettes will likely cost you more than they did last year. Paper plates are almost 14 percent more than last year. Lettuce is up 9 percent. And those hamburger buns? Up almost 17 percent. This is the highest food inflation we’ve seen in nearly two decades – which is also a major factor in the food crisis. The worst part? These prices aren’t coming down.


And neither are airline prices, especially if you’re flying American.

I was upset earlier this year when most airlines announced they’d begin charging for a second bag. I like to think I can pack pretty light, even with a toddler, but this really bugged. Now, I rarely even check a second bag, but knowing that I no longer had the (free) option hurt. Yes, I’d rather pack light than pay more for my ticket, but what’s next?! Paying for water? Maybe…

Today American Airlines announced you’ll be charged $15 for your first checked bag. No more freebies. The overhead bins are already groaning…not to mention your wallet.


This is crazy! Flying fish – for real. ‘Nuff said. Enjoy!

Filed under: American Airlines • Economy • Erica Hill • Food crisis
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    Everything seems to be higher in cost. The only thing that hasn't gone up in my house is our paycheck and it can only be stretched so far. I realize that the rising food prices are reflective of higher shipping costs but knowing the reason doesn't make it any easier to deal with. I guess we all need to get used to having less rather than having more.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 21, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  2. Michael, NC

    Agh!!! Don't talk about beer prices, it breaks my heart 🙁
    Nah, but it is getting crazy lately. Grilling at the apartment takes at least twenty or thirty dollars by the time you get food, buns, and drinks.
    As lame as it sounds, I am glad to be working this Memorial day, I'm flat broke.
    Too bad airfare is skyrocketing, just when you think flying hundreds of miles would be cheaper than the gas if you drove, umm...maybe not.
    Erica, you are a very influential person...FIX THIS!!!

    May 21, 2008 at 8:12 pm |
  3. Heather

    Yes Erica its happening. Pretty soon flying will become a luxury and not as common as it is now. I guess going backwards in time. My dad who just turned 77 on mothers day used his AA miles to pay for a trip to HI. He had to fly to someother state from Az rather than fly direct. He had to pay $5 for food to eat on an 8 hour flight . He is a diabetic with a heart condition. He told me he will never make the mistake of flying again. He has since been able to convert his air miles to hotel room points for his next trip. I plan on taking my cats to get vaccinated and life goes on. If you live by the beach you have it made.

    May 21, 2008 at 8:08 pm |
  4. marcy

    ohhhhhh please let us see was it david mattingly getting hit by the fishes!!!!!


    May 21, 2008 at 8:00 pm |
  5. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    I guess I won't be flying American anytime soon (not that I normally do anyway). This policy ought to make the TSA people and customers in baggage search lines really happy. Traveling by air this summer should be so much fun. Yeah right.

    As for Memorial Day, I'm working. So the BBQ prices really won't be bothering me. It stinks for everyone who is actually off, though, that wants to grill.

    The flying fish is just too cool for words. Definitely not an aquarium or water garden sort of pet, though.

    May 21, 2008 at 7:46 pm |
  6. Bill in Nebraska


    I was just talking about things like this with my family last night and today. I went to the store this morning and was happy as all get out that I found a gallon of milk that is only good for the next three days but hey I saved a buck on it. Then there is buying a loaf of bread. When did this become a need to go get a second mortgage on your house? I used to get bread for 25 cents a loaf. Now I can't find a loaf on sale for under 3 bucks.

    I put $40 in my car today and didn't even give myself a half a tank of gas. This is getting really bad. My father lives about 300 miles from me and he came to visit last year so he could get Dentures. My dad had really bad teeth. Well it is time to get his final dentures and between us we can't get far enough ahead to buy the gas to get him here and back. 600 miles round trip is going cost something like $160.00. How is anyone going to make it if it keeps up like this for much longer.

    I know you don't make a ton of money but I know you make a living wage anyway. But this stuff is even hitting people like you not just us out here that don't even get to enjoy our rebate check. Have to pay those bills you know. Try to keep the roof over my head. This is just way too much sometimes. I just hope that you manage to get your loft sold before too long.

    A little aside here... Watching my local news and there is someone out there that has a car lot and is offering either gas or a gun with the purchase of a new car. WHAT!!! Did I hear that right??? What has this all come to?

    May 21, 2008 at 7:27 pm |
  7. Kathy, Chicago

    This will be the first nice week-end in Chicago, and I am off to a 60th Anniversary party in Pa. Can you imagine 60 years-yikes! I will see if my daughter can pack light and take an informal Presidential poll at the party. Hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day, just in case you are sneaking out early!

    May 21, 2008 at 7:23 pm |
  8. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Erica,
    Happy Wednesday before the big Memorial blowout..By the time you hit a sale at Macys, buy the BBQ goodies and travel the happy trails, we won't have enough left to spend on fish food for the goldfish. They won't be flying so high on an empty stomach.
    To be serious though, I would like to remember our men and women serving in the military here and all around the world. All those past and present, who should be on our minds this Memorial Day. So pass the mustard and please say a prayer of thanks for our troops.

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    May 21, 2008 at 7:21 pm |
  9. Lilibeth

    Yes, everything is going up. I guess you can still have summer parties, but instead of shouldering all the expenses yourself, you can ask everyone to bring a dish to share, sort of like a potluck. Besides, I look forward to the people, seeing and talking with them, more so than the food.

    I hope you and your family have a great summer.

    See you tonight.

    Edmonds, Washington

    May 21, 2008 at 7:13 pm |
  10. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi Erica,
    Yes, the flying fish. Very cool, and it's for real. I saw the flying fish from the deck of a Holland America cruise ship. At first I wasn't sure what I was looking at. We were in the Carribean off of South America. It was interesting to watch. Of course the fish did not fly for more than a few seconds at a time. Looking forward to a good show tonight. See you later.

    May 21, 2008 at 7:08 pm |
  11. Alexander

    Erica, imagine that. Being charged for even checking just one bag. Now, that really is unbelieveable. As for that flying fish, I saw that earlier. Isn't it something? I liked this comment I saw from an e-mail from a viewer that was posted in response to the video of the flying fish. He or she posted 'Sad. Now even fish are taking steroids.' Something like that, anyway. Um. Cute.: ) Considering all the controversy that has become of athletes taking steroids, it's a cute hint at humor. This fish, though, is something, it lasts and lasts and lasts in the air. Quite impressive.: )

    May 21, 2008 at 7:00 pm |