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Airlines: How air travel has evolved from luxury to luggage fees

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Yahoo Finance's Jared Blikre explains the evolution of the airline industry from the PanAm days to today's summer travel disruptions.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

BRIAN CHEUNG: Well, as we were discussing earlier, travel headaches this holiday weekend may make some nostalgic for a simpler time, a time before the TSA, before baggage fees, to a time when you could even smoke on the plane? Let's toss it over to Yahoo Finance's Jared Blikre with our latest installment of "Then and Now." And we're taking it back to a time of more airlines, first of all.

JARED BLIKRE: Oh, yeah. Yeah, we've got to do airlines because given the malaise-- or given the melee in the markets right now, we're going to go back to that golden age. Now, air travel used to be a lot more luxurious. And the prices reflected that. Adjusted for inflation, a ticket for a domestic flight could easily run you over $1,000. But unlike today's experience, air travel in the '60s gave you quite a bit of bang for your buck. Planes featured lounges, bars, multi-course meals. American Airlines even advertised a piano lounge in the back of its 19-- or in the back of its 747s. And we got to wonder how they kept it in tune.

Now those features were a big pull because flying in the 1960s and '70s, all that meant you had a lot of options to choose from. Now check out these names-- Pan Am, American, United, Trans World, Eastern, Delta, Capital, Northwest, National, Western, Continental, Northeast, Pacific, Southwest. And the list goes on. Now, you likely don't see those names very often anymore. So what happened to those dozens of airlines that were taking to the skies in the 1960s? Well, you can see here, they were absorbed and merged out of their namesakes.

So here's a look at American Airlines, one of the industry's most dominant carriers, still to this day. You can see that line on the bottom that actually is the US Airways, which absorbed a lot of airlines on its own, until it eventually merged with American in 2015. United and Delta, they also merged. And you can see on your screen there, quite a few names that we don't see anymore, guys. Excuse me. So--

BRIAN CHEUNG: I saw Trump Airlines there as well.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, I know. There was even a Trump Airlines. So let's get to the charts and plot some of the action right now. And we can see, if we pull up the YFi Interactive, that this is a year to date. We're going to take a look at the year to date of all the travel and reopening stocks. Not a pretty picture, but just check out American Airlines here. We have a max chart that is showing very choppy action all the way back to 2008. And if we pull up charts of other airlines, like, let's say, United Airlines, that is also very choppy. So, all in all, we have a lot of airlines that have merged. And now we're on the other side of this new epic.

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, in many ways-- so airlines aside, the airline experience really changed after 9/11, right? I mean, I'm trying to think of what I miss the most-- not having TSA, but also being able to go right up to the gate.

JARED BLIKRE: Well, not only that. You could actually-- I remember airline tickets were as good as cash. So you could actually exchange it or give it to somebody else. And they could get on a flight. They didn't check your name. So things were definitely a lot different back then.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, and more consolidation maybe again with Spirit and Frontier or JetBlue.

JARED BLIKRE: Exactly.

BRIAN CHEUNG: We will see.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, we will see.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yahoo Finance's Jared Blikre, thanks so much. Have a great weekend.

JARED BLIKRE: Thank you.

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