Guest Post: Where are the every day low Air fares?

This week, I am happy to bring an interesting blog post published by my friend and budget blogger Shreyas at GivingGrinch. He shed some light on how the Air fares are forecasted and how you can take advantage of certain parameters to find low air fares in the current market. He brings in his many years of Airline industry work experience  added with facts and figures to make this post an interesting one. Enjoy reading…

Air Fares: A Short-Term Forecast

According to the Bureau of Transportation and Statistics (BTS) domestic U.S. air fares had the largest percent decline since 2002. With summer in our rear view mirror, the prospects of a slow economic recovery and a decrease in airline capacity many experts believe prices have stabilized. There are still great deals out there; you just have to know where to look. The following suggestions may improve your odds.

Destination Selection

* Trips to business markets, especially those dominated by one carrier (a fortress hub) generally cost more. A fortress hub is a large airport dominated by one carrier. American at Dallas-Ft. Worth, Continental at Houston Intercontinental and Delta at Cincinnati are examples. In these markets the dominant carrier provides non-stop service to points throughout the nation. This level of service allows the carrier to maintain pricing power.

* Pick a destination that is served my multiple carriers (ideally both major and low cost carriers).

* Carriers like Air Tran, Southwest, Frontier, JetBlue, Virgin America, Spirit and Allegiant have taken market share from major carriers by introducing lower fares. This doesn’t mean they always offer the lowest fare. To maintain market share, major carriers will price match. Austin, Las Vegas and Ft. Lauderdale are three examples of markets with a healthy mix of major and LCC competition.

* Select a destination with multiple airports. Below are the average itinerary fares for Houston, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and the Washington D.C. area. As you can see, the fares vary greatly by airport. If you are flexible research fares to an alternative airport. Tip: add ground transportation costs (taxi, car rental, public transportation) to your airfare to compare the total cost of each option.

Source: Bureau of Transportation and Statistics

The Lowest Average Fares in America

Of the top 100 airports (by originating passengers) the most affordable destinations are Long Beach, Oakland, Burbank, Dallas (Love Field) and Las Vegas. Conversely, the most expensive airports are Huntsville, Cincinnati, Grand Rapids, Savannah and Des Moines. Below are the top 30 from both ends of the spectrum. It should not shock you that many of the expensive markets have fortress hubs or limited competition.

Source: Bureau of Transportation and Statistics

A Final Tip: The Best Time to Travel in 2009

The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a low period for air travel. During this time both business and leisure travel drop significantly. In an attempt to generate bookings airlines open their inventory to their lowest fares. But don’t buy your ticket too soon…we’re still in a recession after all! There is likelihood even lower/sale fares will emerge between 60 and 21 days to departure – especially in competitive markets. Of course, the only thing less rational than air fares are trying to predict them…buyer beware and happy trails!

Facebook Twitter Email Linkedin Stumbleupon Digg Delicious Tumblr
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply