Confirmed: Air Travel Is Getting Cheaper

Confirmed: Air Travel Is Getting Cheaper


My neighbor is planning  a late spring trip to eastern Europe, a two week jaunt that will have her touring through five countries while spending a considerable amount of time in Split, Croatia. She has visited the area before, but when she first flew over her airfare was nearly double what she will be paying this year.

airlinerYes, lower airfares are back and, if you know where to look, widely available. Thanks to an article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal (Airlines Slash Fares to Fill Up Empty Seats, March 4, 2009, D1) many more travelers will learn that 2009 is shaping up as a good year to fly.

Travelocity, the popular online booking destination, reports that airfares for the Top 100 most popular destinations has fallen, as much as by half since peaking in June 2008. These destinations include both domestic and international cities.

Noticeably, coast to coast travel has finally returned to sensible levels. Round trip fares from San Francisco to key east coast gateways such as New York City and Boston have dropped below $250, a 40 percent decrease in price. Even Hawai’i is finally becoming affordable with similar price cuts to the island state.

While last year’s high airfares were attributed to record high jet fuel costs which were passed on to travelers, this year’s low airfares aren’t really a reflection of lowcost jet fuel. Instead, passenger load is the driving factor in cheaper airfare.

Thanks to a deep recession, consumers are being very careful to reign in their travel costs, as farflung trips are cancelled and vacations closer to home are planned. This has put a world of hurt on airlines who are finding that they’re sending some of their planes out with more empty seats than filled.

Though a full fledged fare war has yet to break out, airlines aren’t likely to let a competitor’s fare special go unmatched, particularly when the same city pairs are involved.  In larger cities with several airports, consumers may find that the best deal is at the airport that they don’t usually fly out of.  Newark to Long Beach could prove to be a better deal than would a flight from JFK to LAX.

Of course, with market instability comes the threat that low airfares may not stick around. Should jet fuel prices ascend once again, prices will rise accordingly. So if you are planning a trip later this year, you may want to book the flight now before your travel costs increase.

Adv. – You can save on your next home purchase while still keeping your other expenses in line. Why not allow help you find ways to reduce your medical expenseshousing and debt obligations in 2009?


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Categories: Consumer Tips, Travel Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

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".