Fares are the highest I’ve seen in five years….

This is beyond insane. I’ve had a pretty good grasp on air fares for the past five years, especially the domestic market. And I can truly say that I have never, ever, ever seen fares as high as they are now. Yes, I realize many people have spring break so there are plenty of lesuire travelers, but that was also the case in past years when fares were still reasonable. Instead, I’m seeing transcons pricing out at $500+, and even west coast hops pricing out around the same price.

What’s even crazier is that flights are packed! The airlines aren’t just price skimming, but they seem to actually be filling seats. Hell, I’m seeing many flights two weeks from now sold out already, both in coach and first class. As much as it ticks me off as a mileage runner and consumer, good for the airlines. Maybe the capacity cuts were good for something, and hopefully this will be reflected in their results.

That being said, lower the friggin’ fares already! 😀

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Aw, MCO has seen some fares go up significantly at the moment. MLB is much, much lower at the moment though!

  2. Agree whole heartedly!! I am flying East Coast-SFO next week and the best I could find was 450+ in coach. Great international business class deals could be had (even one-ways) up until 3 or 4 months ago, now it’s tough to find anything decent. One exception: South Florida to Asia Business Class on US carriers. Thanks.

  3. I agree too. I was thinking of going to a Flyertalk thing in Palm Springs the weekend of the 26th and it’s coming in at close to $1000. Huh? On the other hand, I had the good fortune to go JFK-FLL-JFK last week for $10 each way.

  4. You get an amen and a high five to that. There are a few deals, but it’s a rough year. I wanted to go somewhere fun for my birthday at the end of July and it’s looking like any chance of doing that will require a hefty monetary investment at the moment.

  5. If the load factors remain this high, then the airlines are definitely not maximizing revenue by keeping those planes they’ve ground last year in storage I’m sure once the Q! results comes out, they will be more confident and bring those planes back out again, and we’ll see lower fares.

  6. @sam — I hope they are smarter than that. That is exactly the temptation they need to avoid if they want to remain in business, especially with high fuel prices.

  7. glad to see i bought when the market was high for my upcoming yyz-sfo-san-den-yyz trip. all on united Lucky, thought it would make you proud.

  8. Good for the airlines. They are for-profit businesses and are supposed to make money – not serve the public’s whims. For once, they are doing what they should. As a Delta shareholder seeing the highest stock price in a long time, I’m thrilled!

  9. I disagree… I have bought four one-ways SFO-JFK this year for $100 or so. I just flew SFO-DEN-ATW for $150 after tax. My ATW-IAD-LGA flight is only $150 too (both of those i bought two weeks out). I’m flying BOS-SFO on friday for $260 or so (bought two weeks out), and that’s a pretty standard rate. I also fly LAX-SFO-LAX pretty often, and while I used to be able to get $60 fares every so often, they’ve only been about $80 for me.

    It doesn’t seem like a fire sale out there, but I was paying a LOT more for SFO-JFK UA round trips than I am today.

  10. $850 sfo-atl roundtrip in coach, $1300 for first, Delta
    trying the biz elite product right now and its not bad at all

  11. I never thought I would do such a thing, but I am very seriously considering booking a one-way ATL-SFO for $600 on UA. If credited to bmi, it earns 625%, so the net cost of the ticket is $230. My other choice is $283 for coach with a net cost of $173, with a very slim chance of an upgrade on an A319. Crazy.

  12. Fares to europe ex-NYC , ex-LAX are out of control. 1000 or > in the spring.

    Thank goodnees there are staple routes that have remained low, or else requalifying for the 100,000 mile mark is expensive.

    Capacity has been cut, perhaps too much

  13. Flights out to Hawaii are utterly absurd right now. I’m actually finishing my PhD thesis this summer in Honolulu, and my family and friends all want to come out to the defense. It nauseates me to see all of them facing at least $1000 fares to get there from the East Coast, even living in a major hub! I’ve flown that route countless times myself, and the cheapest fares used to top out at $800 _at Christmastime_.

    Ridiculous. It’s been weirding me out for months now how freakishly high all the prices seemed to be, so it’s at least good to hear it’s not just me. Grrrrrrr.

  14. I find the short haul flight prices crazy. Flights like IAD-YYZ or IAD-PVD for $500 per person seems crazy to me. These are less than 500 miles per segment!

    But other than for short distances I am happy to see United in particular getting those seats filled and the higher fares paid as they have been loosing money every year and that is obviously not sustainable. Not worth being a 1K if the airlines goes bankrupt. In general it’s great to see all the little improvements UA has been making over the last two years.

  15. Thanks to UA’s Australia twitter sale yesterday, I booked a MR from IAD-SYD for $911 a/i. It had been running between $1030 and $1388. Prices are up slightly, but its not out of control. Of course, now that I bough this ticket the DEQM will come and not be retroactive!

  16. @Puck – fares to Hawaii just dropped over the past few days. Are you not seeing 600-700 from East, 500-600 from midwest, and 550 from Denver?? These are way down from the 1000+ of the last few weeks.

    I take back what I said to Ben a few days ago – Much of what I was trying to book has weeble-wobbled around to a point where I am now able to book again for pennies, including Honolulu, SFO, and Miami.

    Love,
    Katie

  17. I have my own travel business I dabble in part time. The phone is ringing off the hook because there are some great cruise deals out of Florida and San Juan. A couple can take a 7 day cruise in April for around $700. The problems is that flights are costing $400-500 per person to get to Florida or San Juan and that kills the cruise deal really quickly except for locals. Even WN is high because everyone that did not like the high fares on the legacies went to WN and their supply is low.

    The airlines have found their capacities that are going to make them some money.

  18. I TAKE IT ALL BACK…. the airfares are dropping. Have made at least 10 reservations over the past two days, all at “regular” prices. There may be some particular markets that are hard hit but much of what I was seeing as “high prices” over the past few weeks have disappeared.

    However, I will agree that the airlines have drastically cut routes/planes since last year and planes are typically filling up for the most part…. so if the airlines can keep their routes thin, still make money, and offer me fares I’m willing to take (and of course, that I continue on a near 100% upgrade streak for 2010 as expected) I shall continue to be happy as a clam.

    Love,
    Katie

  19. I was about to whine about the same. Europe for summer is priced at 2x-3x to last year. WTF?? Where is the “economy in crisis”, “nobody wants to travel”, etc, etc, etc.

    SFO-AMS for $1900 in June? Really! Well, no – it is $2100 now 🙁

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