Next time you fly out of Bismarck, you'll notice you'll have to dig a bit deeper in your pocket to pay baggage fees.

One by one, just like pigs going to a feed trough, the major airlines have increased their fees for checked bags. This can only mean one thing, you see more people with carry-on luggage boarding the plane. We've all seen it before, that frazzled traveler trying to fit their oversized luggage in the overhead ben while holding up the line of people boarding. I used to find this rather comical. Being an innocent observer, everyone on the flight is watching this person and we all know that oversized bag won't fit even with easy-lube slathered on the luggage, it just won't fit. It's too big!

Get ready, you'll see more people with carry-on luggage. Quietly and slowly, every major airline has increased their fees for checked baggage. The latest is American Airlines. They followed suit after Delta and United increased fees from $25 to $30 for the first checked bag and from $35 to $40 for the second checked bag each way on flights to and from destinations within the U.S., North America and the Caribbean. The airline will begin charging the higher fees Friday, Sept. 21. Delta announced similar fees increases last week. And why not bleed your customer for every drop of blood. After all,  United and JetBlue had already hiked checked baggage fees at the beginning of September. If they can do it and get away with it, American figures, why should they be the last guy standing without screwing the flying public?

The major airlines say (break out the fiddle), these fees haven't been increased since 2010, and the hikes are needed to offset higher fuel and labor costs. What's next? Going to charge to use the restroom? Or better yet, you can use the facility for free but will charge for toilet paper.

There is nothing luxurious when it comes to flying. It's expensive, frustrating and a majority of the airline employees treat you as you work for them. For clarity, not all airline employees act like they hate their jobs and life in general, just most of them do.

Too bad Southwest does not service Bismarck. Southwest Airlines remains the only major carrier that does not charge for checked luggage. According to NPR, Southwest announced it would continue to allow passengers to check two bags for free. Speaking of Southwest Airlines, have you noticed how happy their employees are? Southwest employees actually seem like they really like their lives and love their jobs. And customers love Southwest, since they are the only major carrier does not charge fees for changing reservations, which can set you back as much as $200 or more on the other carriers.

Next time you fly, get ready to be corralled like a herd of animals, consider yourself fortunate if you get a pleasant greeting from the airline employee and prepare yourself to get nickel and dime to death and don't expect to be at grandma's on time and consider yourself lucky if your luggage arrives on time or at your final destination.

Happy traveling through the friendly skies!

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