Gasoline prices have fallen about 64 cents a gallon nationwide since hitting their peak on May 6, providing an early Christmas present for the onslaught of holiday motorists according to AAA Carolinas.
But what about airfare?
Well, air travel is expected to be slightly lower than usual with airfare up over 21 percent when compared to last year. The increase was triggered by the higher jet fuel costs coupled with reduced capacity as airlines tried to increase profits.
But airfare has shown a 5% decrease when comparing November 2011 with December 2011 – a very good sign.
“The drop in gasoline prices, higher airfares and fewer available flights on smaller planes, and the slowly-improving economy mean more people will travel to visit family, friends and holiday destinations,” said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas.
Are International Airfares Going Down?
A detailed analysis of international air travel data from the 2nd quarter indicates that the average cost of an airline ticket has decreased by approximately one percent when compared to the 1st quarter of 2012.
Comparing the quarterly data for one year revealed an even greater drop in prices – approximately 5 percent over one year.
USAirways Adds a Pemium Food Option for $19.99
USAirways is now the first US carrier to offer coach-class customers a “premium meal option” on international flights.
The premium meal option gives coach customers a little taste of first or business class cuisine for an extra charge of $19.99.
I recently had the chance to try out the new premium meal plan while on a flight from NYC to Lisbon, Portugal.
There were two premium options presented to me. First, there was a vegetarian meal that came with a hummus and cracker appetizer, a Caprese Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Dressing, an entree of Portobello mushroom tortellini, and a desert of turtle cheesecake.
The non-vegetarian meal came with a shrimp cocktail appetizer, an entree of citrus-marinated chicken skewers with grilled vegetables, and a desert of creme brulee cheesecake.
It depends, of course, on where you’re headed, but getting a good fare for a last minute flight is usually a difficult task. There are certain times of the year, in fact, when it’s next to impossible to get an advance purchase flight - no matter what price you are prepared to pay. This is why travel industry insiders will always suggest that you book your flight early.
Booking your flights as far in advance of your trip as possible is definitely the safe way to go for obtaining cheap airline tickets to your destination. By securing your flight early, you are buying a seat while there are still plenty of seats available. Naturally, you will find that the airlines usually offer the cheapest airfares during this stage.
But What if I have to book last minute?
Booking a flight until the last minute usually means that there are very few seats left. When this happens, the airlines may charge a premium price for those seats that are left. My suggestion is to be vigilant with the TravelZoo E-Mail List. I don’t know how they do it, but TravelZoo’s list always has the best last minute fares.
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American Airlines Worst, Southwest Airlines Best
Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) — Carol Massar of Bloomberg reports her findings on the Bloomberg Rankings official analysis of airlines’ operating performance and service charges. The analysis found that American Airlines rated the worst performance and Southwest Airlines rated the best.
The list evaluated the largest 10 U.S. air carriers, as identified by passenger traffic on domestic flights. Lisa Murphy and Adam Johnson also commented. (Source: Bloomberg)
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Some of the airlines are making potential customers work harder to find an airfare deal.
Rather than enticing would be flyers with airfare coupons from travel agencies, carriers are now offering some of their best airfare deals to passengers who book flights from their own websites. It’s an effort to steer travelers away from those online travel agencies like Expedia, and Travelocity, which charge the carrier a $10 – $15 commission on each flight.
While travelers will save money on flights, it’s a bit of an inconvenience to lose one-stop shopping.
Frontier Airlines announced Wednesday that it will penalize would be passengers who don’t book directly with Frontier. Fliers who book at online travel agencies won’t be permitted to select seats until check-in, they’ll pay more in fees, and they’ll earn half as many frequent flier miles.