Airlines have the upper hand on airfare prices for more reasons than just fuel cost:
– The improving economy. Business travelers are expected to take 441 million trips this year, a 3% increase from 2010. As a result, airlines are reserving more seats for pricey last-minute bookings.
– Fewer seats. During the recession, airlines reduced the number of routes and planes they fly. As travel demand picks up, this shrunken supply of seats allows the industry to charge more. Planes are 82% full on average, compared with 70% full before the recession hit in late 2007.
– Consolidation. Six airlines have combined into just three over the past 14 months — Delta and Northwest, Continental and United, Midwest and Frontier — leaving bargain-hunters with fewer choices.
Your Christopherson agent has access to all airline fares and inventory and will be your best guide to finding the best airfare options available.