Low Airfares? Going Up!

Written by  //  June 26, 2009  //  Travel Tips  //  5 Comments

Thursday’s issue of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) pointed out a trend that travelers need to take note of. In, “After Months of Sales, Airfares Take Off,” the WSJ found that airfares which had been dropping since last summer have likely bottomed out. In fact, a recent survey by Harrell Associates LLC of one hundred domestic air markets found that fares had shot up by 11% in one week alone. Yes, cheap airfares are becoming scarce with further increases expected throughout the summer; if you’re planning to take a flight in the coming months, then locking in a rate now might save you a bundle of money later.

OregonThe most recent increase in fares is due to several factors including a rise in jet fuel costs, shrinking capacity resulting in fewer seats available, and increased consumer demand. Farecast, which is now part of Bing Travel, has noted that for some city pairs airfare has already doubled. The increase seems to have begun right after Memorial Day when airlines’ spring specials came to an end.

Buy Now Or Wait?

So what should you do if you’re planning a trip? Well, if you’re looking to travel this summer then securing a low fare now is advised. But, if you’re planning a trip this fall or over the Christmas holiday, then waiting to book until after Labor Day may be the best approach. Airlines typically roll out fall fare sales during that time, which means you could end up paying less for your flight if you are patient.

Although you likely won’t get the same low fare you may have seen online last month or even last week, you may be able to snag a deal if you keep a few things in mind:

Check the online travel sites – SayFunTravel.com, Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, Priceline.com and Orbitz.com are each worth exploring in order to find and compare low fares.

Visit airline websites – Some airlines post their lowest rates right online, avoiding middlemen in the process. Compare what you find on the internet whether you’re visiting the travel sites or the airline’s website directly.

Don’t forget discount airlines – There are a handful of discount air carriers still in business, offering price advantages on city pairs that the big boys can’t or won’t match. Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, USA3000 Airlines, and Virgin America are just to name a few. If you’re accustomed to flying one of the legacy carriers, then take a look at discounters to see what they have to offer to you.

Be flexible – If you have some flexibility as to when you can begin and end your trip, then lower fares are still within reach. Choose off peak travel, specifically, those flights which leave during the middle of the week.

Hopefully, the recent run up in prices won’t take hold, resulting in discounts this fall and beyond. Regardless, there are still airline seats available where you won’t have to pay full price – carefully shop and compare to find what you need.

Adv. – Save money on your next trips whether you’re traveling to the beach for flying off to Honolulu, Tokyo or Sydney. SayFunTravel.com offers state guides to help you find places of interest all across the USA as well as information about cruises, car rentals, hotel stays and more.

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About the Author

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".

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