Summer Airfares Climbing Right Into The Sky Along With The Planes

Better fact in some extra cash for airfares this summer — flying is getting more expensive than last year. And just as you ascend into the sky, jetting upward into the heavens, so shall prices continue to rise as the season progresses.

USA Today cites Travelocity, which says summer fares in the United States are up 3% on average over last year, and 18% compared with 2010. It’s even worse if you’re traveling internationally, where the average ticket costs about 20% more than it did in 2010.

Fare watchers don’t see this price uptick ending any time soon, as airlines are likely going to push as much as they can.

“I would expect about a hike attempt a month, with about half being successful,” Rick Seaney of Farecompare.com tells USA Today.

There have been six attempts this year to raise fares across the board, and three of those have been successful. The most recent was initiated by Delta, but when the other airlines didn’t all join in, the hike was rolled back.

Experts say we can expect another such attempt before Memorial Day, which is the beginning of the summer travel season. Jet fuel isn’t getting any cheaper, which means airlines are going to keep trying their darndest to make up for that expense.

Airfares up for summer travel, likely to keep climbing [USA Today]

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  1. brandonsavage says:

    I make my own airplane flights.

    No really. Certificated private pilot.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Believe it or not, certificated is a word.

      tr.v. (-kt) cer·tif·i·cat·ed
      To furnish with, testify to, or authorize by a certificate.

      Shakes head in un-belief.

      • brandonsavage says:

        Yeah I couldn’t believe it was a word either. The FAA uses it. It’s not a “private pilot license” it’s a “private pilot certificate” and the regulations refer to a “certificated pilot” all over the place.

        • aerodawg says:

          The FAA certificates all manner of things all the time. People, airplanes, helicopters, parakeets….ok kidding about the last one…

    • jblather says:

      Yup, same here….also an FAA Certificated Private Pilot. Faster in many cases than taking the flying bus.

  2. Blueskylaw says:

    “There have been six attempts this year to raise fares across the board”
    “I would expect about a hike attempt a month”

    I should try this strategy with my company and pester them with demands for raises an average of once a month; what do you think will happen? What other company out there (other than gas companies) tries to raise prices at least once a month?

    • Leksi Wit says:

      But that’s the thing–airline prices are completely tied up with gas prices. Maybe not immediately as airlines tend to buy fuel in bulk, but it definitely is affecting flight expenses at a premium.

      • eturowski says:

        Airfares are only tied to fuel prices when it’s profitable for the airlines. When fuel prices jump, airlines are quick to hike fares, but when fuel prices fall back down, the inflated airfares remain.

        • aerodawg says:

          Well, you know that’s typically what happens when a business discovers that the market will in fact bear a higher price for the product or service.

          It also works in reverse and from time to time there’s even “collusion” to drop prices, what normal people call a fare war. For some reason nobody gripes about those….

      • Blueskylaw says:

        Airlines hedge their aviation fuel purchases in order to lock in a price, and avoid these price swings, so when they try to raise prices due to higher fuel “prices” (which are already paid for by the hedge) it’s not to make up for higher fuel prices but because they can.

        • SBR249 says:

          Fuel hedging isn’t a one time deal, airlines buy fuel hedges on a continuous basis, both long term and short term hedges. Therefore it raises 2 issues with your point:

          1) The airline must factor current costs into ticket prices because it’s likely that they have to pay all or part of the oil costs for future delivery right now. If they don’t factor that in, they probably won’t even break even.

          2) The fuel that is used may be a mix of different hedges from multiple positions. Airlines sometimes do this to smooth over oil prices so that there aren’t sudden spikes in oil costs/expenses when they run out of a cheap batch and have to start using a more expensive one.

          So really I think airlines hedge not so much to “lock in a price” as you’d said but to smooth over fluctuations in oil prices so that their costs are more predictable.

  3. James says:

    I do my overseas trips in the spring and fall. (March or November.) Fares are 1/3 cheaper, fewer crowds in cities (Europe) and I don’t mind it being a little chilly rather than hot and sticky. And I’ve had pretty good luck with shoulder season weather.

    Summer I do road trips (camping, rafting) out west by car.

  4. BelleSade says:

    Yep, noticed this…fares from Puerto Rico to Chicago are $440 WITH stops…. went two years ago (same dates), they were almost $300.

  5. Sarek says:

    I wouldn’t mind the price hikes so much if they’d reinstate actual service and friendliness, much less clean the planes once in a while.

  6. HogwartsProfessor says:

    God, please, make it stop. I can’t move right now. Having an LDR in this mess is a real bitch.

    • nybiker says:

      I’ll admit it, I had to think for a few seconds as to what an LDR is and why it’s a PITA when airfares rise.

      I guess you will have to make do with Skype Video and such.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        Yeah, but it’s not the same. I miss my honey. :(

        Also that dog howling is exactly how I felt when I read the post LOL.

  7. BorkBorkBork says:

    So with gas prices going up, and airfares going up…it looks like I should start planning for a 2012 Staycation.