By exempting full-fare passengers and elite members of frequent-flier programs from the new fees, the airlines are making it better to pay more ? even if it is only through the absence of pain newly created for the bargain flier.

American Airlines Inc. executive Dan Garton says that the goal is to give every customer some things in common, such as safe flights, on-time arrivals, clean facilities and airplanes, and courteous and professional service.

But beyond that, American would like to charge the low-fare customers ? often leisure travelers ? for a lot of things they previously got at no extra cost and give its best customers more services and extra perks for free, he said.

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