Money Minute: Alaska Airlines Has Good News for Travelers

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There's good news and bad news when it comes to flying.

Flying isn't what it used to be. It seems we are constantly being asked to pay more for less. But here's some positive news.

Alaska Airlines (ALK) will soon be offering more carry-on space for your luggage and so far there has been no mention or raising fares. The airline will be the first to take delivery of Boeing's (BA) new 737 and 737 Max, which have overhead bins that can fit 50 percent more luggage than standard bins. That should speed up the boarding process -- and it makes a lot of business sense. A 2008 report found that every minute cut on boarding can save the airline $30. Now here's the bad news. The September 11 security fee is about to be increased and that will translate into a fare hike of up to $22 round-trip. The Transportation Security Administration says the money isn't going to benefit them but going to the Treasury to cut down on the deficit.

Alaska Airlines to offer bigger overhead bins
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Comedian Tracy Morgan who starred in "30 Rock" and "Saturday Night Live" is suing Walmart Stores (WMT) after one of its truck drivers crashed into his limousine, killing one person and injuring four others. Prosecutors say the driver hadn't slept for 24 hours before the crash and the suit alleges Walmart should have known the driver was sleep deprived and shouldn't have let him work. The suit claims Morgan and the others haven't been able to work since the accident and they may suffer from disabilities that could prevent them from working in the future. The suit is seeking a trial, and punitive and compensatory damages.

Last week on Wall Street investors were rattled by worries about Europe and the major indexes closed lower. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) dropped 0.7 percent, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) fell 1.5 percent and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost almost 1 percent.

This week earnings season kicks into high gear with results coming in from some of the major banks like Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM). It's also going to be a heavy reporting week for the tech sector. Analysts at Thomson Reuters believe it will be the strongest performing sector with an average gain of 12 percent in second quarter earnings as compared to a year ago. Google (GOOG), Yahoo (YHOO) and Intel (INTC) are expected to post much higher earnings growth and that could continue to fuel the market higher. The S&P 500 is up more than 6 percent so far this year.

And finally, Swiss chocolate-maker Lindt is breaking the mold other chocolatiers have adopted recently. The Financial Times reports it is in talks to buy U.S. chocolate-maker Russell Stover for roughly $1.5 billion. What makes the deal unusual is that most chocolate-makers are trying to go upmarket right now to cover the rising cost of cocoa and to capture the growing segment of chocolate lovers who want dark and more expensive chocolate. But Russell Stover, which sells mainly to pharmacies in the U.S., caters to a more cost-conscious clientele.

-Produced by Karina Huber.


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