I can't say this strongly enough: If you can, plan well ahead for travel this summer because it's going to be a mess.
Southwest and Continental both say today they're planning domestic fleet cutbacks because of oil prices. At Southwest, which had been aggressively expanding, the CEO, Gary Kelley, says there is an "ongoing review of our flight schedule to eliminate nonproductive flying."
Anytown U.S.A.: That means you!
Southwest also says it has reduced the number of new 737s it expects to take delivery of this year from 28 to 14.
Continental, meanwhile, says it's shrinking domestic capacity by 5 percent. It's looking to "reduce regional-jet capacity" (Attention: Anytown U.S.A.) and will park an additional 14 older 737s beyond the 34 737s it already said it would park this year.
Yesterday, in an op-ed page piece in the Wall Street Journal that was a remarkable effusion of blather even for that particular op-ed page, the CEOs of Delta and Northwest gave blithe assurances that the Delta devouring of ... er, merger with Northwest would not hurt domestic air travel despite route cutbacks, because the low-cost carriers would expand to fill any gaps.
See Southwest (above).