US airlines are about to get smaller while air fairs are about to go higher.

Airline traffic has plunged and it probably won't recover any time soon. The $50 billion aviation bailout passed last week will keep airlines in business and employees on the job for the the next six months. Still, airline executives suggested they expect fewer flights and slumping demand for air travel for quite some time.

"If the recovery is as slow as we fear, it means our airline and our workforce will have to be smaller than it is today," said United CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby in a message to their employees last Friday.

A leaner airline industry means some of the 750,000 jobs the industry had at the start of 2020 won't come back. Hundreds of planes will almost certainly stay grounded, which will mean less capacity and higher fares.

Many of the low-cost seats that passengers have enjoyed booking will disappear. Fliers will have less choice -- of airlines, of flight times, and of available routes and markets. All of that means passengers will pay more when they return to the air. "Fewer seats flying means fewer cheap seats at the margin," Philip Baggaley, chief credit analyst for airlines for S&P Global.