The rising cost of fuel isn’t just a concern for airlines who need to get their planes from here to there, but it’s having a direct, somewhat uncomfortable consequence for consumers. The Federal Aviation Administration says airlines are cutting less-profitable routes in order to fill every seat on plane.
So, in a nutshell — less flight choices mean higher airfare for you, and likely a more crowded plane on the way to your destination.
The L.A. Times cites an FAA report that says this isn’t going to change soon.
“Planes will remain crowded,” said the report released Thursday, and “shrinking capacity will further lift fares higher in 2012.”
U.S. airlines go through 48 million gallons of fuel every day, and the price for that valuable stuff jumped almost 40% last year. Fuel accounts for around 35% of the airline industry’s total operating costs. Accordingly, airfare went up around 8% on average in 2011.
If you feel like enough is enough, or are getting close to that, you’re not alone, says one expert.
“There is a point where consumer won’t go,” said George Hobica, founder of the travel website Airfarewatchdog. “They will stay home. They won’t fly.”
Airfares climb, routes disappear as fuel prices rise [L.A. Times]