We know that times are tough for airlines. I heard from one executive on a trip to Italy recently that it costs $179,000 to take a large jet across the Atlantic. That’s whole lotta seats they have to pay to fill, and doesn’t leave much left for profits.

American Airlines is pulling out all the stops now–they are charging to check any bag, not just the second bag. It’s desperation time, and nobody is hesitating to state that fees of other kinds may be on the horizon.

Another way that American, the largest airline in the world flying the most planes, is going to try to save money is to retire 75 older gas guzzling planes. The bad thing about efforts like this with the baggage fees is that once the big guy do it, the smaller airlines follow. So look for hassles like paying for one bag to be a part of the landscape now….whatever airline you choose to fly.

“This is not going to apply … to the people who can most afford it, the business traveler,” said Bob Harrell of New York-based travel and aviation consulting firm Harrell Associates. “It’s going to be the poor schmo, the vacation traveler, who ends up paying these fees.” American also said it is raising fees for a number of other services, including those to transport pets and check oversized luggage. The airline last month agreed to join other major carriers in charging $25 for a second checked bag.

That means a family of four, with each member checking two bags, must now spend an additional $320 just to get their luggage to and from a destination.