With the summer travel season winding down and the fall fast approaching, how are airfares currently looking for flight shoppers? The TripAdvisor Flights team was curious to find out and conducted an analysis this week of airfares shopped from July to mid-August 2011 compared to the same time period last year.
According to an analysis of fare shopping data from the TripAdvisor Flights meta search engine, average fares have risen 26% year over year for late summer flight shoppers, from an average of $480 in 2010 to $607 in 2011.*
This jump is likely due to a number of factors according to TripAdvisor Flights expert Jami Counter, including:
- Strong air travel demand, especially on the business side
- Reduced competition due to continued consolidation in the airline industry (United-Continental and Southwest-AirTran being the most recent mergers and acquisitions)
- Airlines remaining disciplined with capacity and growth plans and have been aggressively trimming non-profitable flying
While airfares are up overall year over year, there are still some attractive deals out there for flyers, especially as we head into the off-peak fall travel period. According to Counter, “There are still some great deals out there for travelers who shop around and are flexible with their travel dates. Bargain hunters can find coast to coast flights for under $300 roundtrip and flights to popular European destinations such as London, Dublin, and Madrid are selling for under $700 roundtrip, including taxes and fees, during the fall shoulder season.”
In order to find a deal on fall fares, Counter suggests shopping a wide range of possible flight options and jumping on a good fare when you find it. Also, be sure to keep airline fees in mind, as they can turn even the best deals into duds once fees for checked baggage, in-flight meals, seat assignment, and even carry-on bags (in the case of Spirit Airlines) are factored in. You can use the Fees Estimator from TripAdvisor Flights to help factor fees into your ticket price before you book.
To browse the fall airfares available now both across the U.S. and around the world, be sure to check out TripAdvisor’s flight meta search engine at the following link.
Do you have any tips for scoring cheap airfares? Be sure to share them in the comments section!
* The analysis compares the averages of all airfares shopped by U.S. travelers on TripAdvisor.com/Flights from July 4 through August 15, 2011 to those shopped from July 5 through August 16, 2010.