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Anyone else noticing higher airfare prices?

Salt Lake City
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Anyone else noticing higher airfare prices?

I live in Salt Lake, a Delta hub, and so I mainly fly Delta. I'm trying to figure out why airline prices are so high. I have flown to Myrtle Beach in April every year for the last 6 years. I have paid anywhere between $320 and $600. I have always booked my ticket for this trip in January.

This year the flight I take is $815 for some reason. I have looked at the seats, and none of the flights I am looking at have over 30% occupancy. I also ran into this recently on a number of other flights, and decided not to travel because the prices were too high.

I thought travel was down right now? It seems like this is going against supply and demand. Am I missing something? Fuel prices don't seem that much higher than last year when I paid $560 for the same ticket.

Does anyone have any advice on when I need to book my flight? I definitely don't want to overpay, but I'm concerned prices may actually increase for some reason I'm not seeing. Is there any kind of magic number as to the number of days before the flight that I need to book?

Houston, Texas
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1. Re: Anyone else noticing higher airfare prices?

I also have noticed the airlines hanging on to the higher pricing longer than they have previously. Most of them squeeked by last year and made a tiny profit, but not consequential given the cost of debt. I think it has gotten to the point for many of them that they either have to get the higher fares or they are in serious trouble. :-(

That being said, airfares today are some of the cheapest ever. When I look back to the 80's and think of what I had to pay as a precentage of my take-home salary in order to fly halfway across the country... it is far greater than today's requirement. In fact, most fares are cheaper in absolute terms than they were 30 years ago.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Anyone else noticing higher airfare prices?

I have looked at the seats, and none of the flights I am looking at have over 30% occupancy.

____________

How do you know that?

As your financial advisor has probably told you, 'past performance does not equate future results' or words to that affect.

Salt Lake City
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3. Re: Anyone else noticing higher airfare prices?

"How do you know that?

As your financial advisor has probably told you, 'past performance does not equate future results' or words to that affect."

Delta has a botton where you can view available seats. So I'm not talking about past flights. I'm talking about these flights. Right now none of the flights have over 30% occupancy.

Houston, Texas
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4. Re: Anyone else noticing higher airfare prices?

"Available seats" does not mean "Unsold seats". An available seat is one that hasn't been assigned yet. There may be a pool of passengers that have purchased tickets that have not been assigned seats yet (ticketed offline or by partner airlines without capability to assign amongst other reasons). Similarly, assigned seats don't necessarily mean sold seats.

Airline seat maps, though correlated to available capacity, are unreliable.

Salt Lake City
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5. Re: Anyone else noticing higher airfare prices?

Ah, thanks for that. I didn't know that. That totally changes the way I'll look at fligths in the future.

New York
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6. Re: Anyone else noticing higher airfare prices?

To me, buying air tickets (especially non-refundable tickets) is a game.

Airfares keep changing.

In my experience, even 70% of the seats are avaialbe online, that does not necessary mean only 30% of the seats are sold. Sometimes, travel agency or tour operator book seats as a group, but have not done seat assignment yet.

By the way, if I were you, I would pay additional $200 and fly first class. You will get a comfortable seat, free meal and free beverages. Treat yourself!

Bangkok
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7. Re: Anyone else noticing higher airfare prices?

Hi,

cjd, I think that from an overall industry standpoint, the opposite is true.

Speaking to jet fuel, looking at data from IATA, the industry trade group that represents 93% of the worlds total air traffic, the year-over-year gain in the "Jet A" is now sitting nearly 40% higher.. IATA has an updated Jet A fuel monitor website, in conjunction with energy research company Platts.. As a side note, several airlines that use variable fuel surcharges use this index as the base for calculating their charges..

From IATA:

iata.org/whatwedo/…index.htm

Also, speaking to the rise in airfares.. You have in fact seen multiple "rounds" of fare increases by major carriers since 2009-- most have successfully stayed or been compounded.. That said, I highly suspect that if you were to look at the *AVERAGE* airfare paid to today over a year ago, expressed in inflation adjusted dollars (or NUC's) the average traveler is paying less today than this time last year.. But as with any large survey sample it can be a great deal of variance between specific markets.

From a November 2009 IATA press release, "... Although there has been a modest rise in air fares since mid-year, it remains around 20% less expensive to fly in real terms today than it was a year ago..."

Full text here:

www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/2009-11-30-01.htm

Travel Safe,

Edited: 21 January 2010, 21:11
Detroit, MI
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8. Re: Anyone else noticing higher airfare prices?

Demand may be down, but carriers have also adjusted by cutting the supply. Many routes have been cut or reduced. You also have Delta purchasing Northwest, US merging with America West, and other new limits on competition. In the past I was used to getting fares to Vegas under $200. The trip I am taking Sunday would have been $350 (I used miles). They have also switched from mostly 757s on the DTW-LAS route to A320s - about a 20% reduction in seats per flight.

East Sussex, United...
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9. Re: Anyone else noticing higher airfare prices?

The simple fact surely is that the airline industry in general is suffering huge financial losses. Those losses have to be reined in one way or another if airlines are going to survive.

The most obvious way is to increase fares to a realistic level. I think thats what we are beginning to see now.

Worthing, United...
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10. Re: Anyone else noticing higher airfare prices?

We've been checking fares from London to Richmond since before Xmas & nothing was coming down in price everything was getting more expensive on a daily basis.

We usually fly Delta & as we have $150 credit with them, we were hoping to book again BUT.....their fares are so high it paid us to finally book with Air Canada for approx £450 less. That $150 credit is no use to us at all.

Looks like Delta just lost two customers.