Travelers beware of airfare increases

A ticket counter

Airfare increases have been announced by most major airlines. Photo Credit: Shamufan21/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA

Anyone hoping to catch a last-minute deal on airfare during Spring Break is not in for a pleasant surprise. A fresh round of airfare increases are taking place and there is not likely to be a reprieve.

Tickets go with fuel costs

As with so many other things, a rise in the cost of oil means a rise in the cost of airfare. Last year, fuel represented 30 to 35 percent of all costs for airlines, according to the Boston Globe. The FAA, according to Fox Business, estimates that airlines collectively buy more than 50 million gallons of fuel per day, the cost of which has gone up 39 percent since March 2011 and during 2010, the cost of a gallon of jet fuel went up by 85 cents.

During 2011, according to USA Today, there were 22 separate attempts at raising airfares by various carriers, of which 9 were successfully implemented and airfare in total went up by $80 by the end of the year. Airfare costs going up are something people are begrudgingly used to, and unfortunately, there is a new round of airfare increases going on now.

Budget carriers straining budgets

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, fuel prices are on a wild roller coaster ride at the moment, which means airfare is going for a similar ride.

Southwest Airlines announced a fare increase of $4 to $10, depending on the route. Not to be outdone, other airlines followed suit. JetBlue increased fares by $10 for most domestic round trips and Virgin Airlines raised prices on short one-way trips by $2 and long one-way trips by $5.

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Major airlines raise rates, too

Major airlines won’t stand for being shown up by regional carriers and as such, according to MSNBC, Delta, U.S. Airways and United-Continental also raised fares, as did Frontier.

It isn’t the first fare raise of this year. According to USA Today, a similar fare increase occurred in the second week of January, 2012, including a $10 increase on Delta for fares of 1,500 or more miles, which Southwest, Frontier, United, American and U.S. Airways all matched.

De rarum natura

Regular fare increases are projected by the Federal Aviation Administration to be the norm for decades to come due to steadily increasing ridership and fewer resources on the part of airlines to deal with the traffic. A recent FAA study projected 732 million passengers for 2012, which the FAA expects to increase annually, reaching 1.3 billion in 2032.

The more trips airlines have to take, the more fuel they have to use. If the cost of fuel keeps going up, the cost of airline tickets will keep going up. In the first two months of 2011 alone, according to the Boston Globe, there were five rounds of airfare increases, one more than in all of 2010. This most recent round of airfare hikes, according to MSNBC, is the fifth so far this year, though only two stuck.


Boston Globe

Fox Business

USA Today


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