Airline fares expected to jump again this summer
The kids will be out of school. You deserve a vacation. You need to work on Spanish. Whatever the reason, you likely want to take some time off this summer.
Travel experts expect demand for seats will be brisk, allowing the airlines to keep raising fares.
A few weeks ago, major U.S. carriers like United and Continental raised ticket prices again. But those increases were later trimmed when low-fare competitors like Southwest and JetBlue didn’t follow along. But don’t expect that to last.
And costs are increasing on some Canadian carriers as well. For a mid-week Toronto-Vancouver one-way ticket, WestJet was looking for $229, compared with $149 a year earlier, according to a recent survey of lowest-available base fares by Raymond James Ltd. Latest cost for July travel: $259.
And it’s not going to stop there. To offset oil price increases, airlines need to increase their revenues by at least 10 per cent through a combination of both raising ticket prices and, where possible, reducing their costs further, including more fuel surcharges.
Turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa has raised fuel costs, which represent at least 25 per cent of airline expenses and no-one wants to be caught out.
If you’re starting your summer travel shopping, be as flexible as possible, warns Rick Seaney, founder of the online airfare comparison site FareCompare.
No, it’s not convenient, and sometimes it’s just impossible, but there are little things you can do to improve your airfare situation. These, Seaney says, include the following:
- Sign up for airfare alerts to learn when prices drop
- Shop on Tuesday afternoons for the cheapest airfare
- Travel during the middle of the week
- Fly overnight using red-eye fares
- Choose your vacation destination by price
- Find out if connecting flights will be cheaper than a nonstop
- Vacation in late August, early September or after Labour Day
- Use a carryon even if your vacation lasts a week or two.
Will increasing fare costs impact your summer vacation plans? Whar are you doing to keep costs down?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money