Turbulent Skies Projected for 2005

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The 6 major carriers are expected to report a combined loss of 5 and a half billion dollars for 2004. On top of that, the quality of customer service has been on a steady decline in recent years.

Early predictions for next year point to more of the same.

Roberta Prutzman and her fellow travelers were very much looking forward to their two week theater vacation to London. But unfortunately, they ran into some drama before they even left home.

"They kept delaying, delaying and they cancelled. We could have come over here to Southwest and gotten down to Oakland and taken Bart around had we known they were never going to land," says Prutzman.

Sky West airlines agreed to charter a bus to take the 12 travelers to San Francisco, so they can catch a flight to London in the morning. But, this experience of unreliability has left a sour taste in the mouths of many of these frequent fliers.

"It makes me want to say that I'm not going to be flying certain airlines, that's what's going to happen. And expect more," Prutzman added.

Combined, all six of the major airlines are expected to cut more than 7 billion dollars from their budgets next year. And lose more than 20,000 jobs. All 6 of those airlines besides US Airways, United, Delta, American, Northwest and Continental, all service the Reno/Tahoe International Airport.

For the air traveler, either here in Reno or elsewhere, the shrinking airline industry will be noticeable. Already, travel to more than 100 cities has been curtailed in the last five years. Delays are becoming more frequent. Passengers rarely get a meal with their flight. And luggage hassles? You can kiss that baggage goodbye.