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PeacefulChaos

Why has flying gotten SO expensive??

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Certain airports are cheap and the rest of us are screwed. I'm flying twice in the next three weeks. Both are round-trip with layovers. Both are at least $600 each. It sucks.

 

When we lived in FL we always chose to drive the two hours to fly out of Orlando because it was so cheap.

 

Very true.  The difference between Co Springs and Denver is huge.  I live west of Co Springs, so Denver is about a 2.5 hour drive.  I've done it a few times though, just to save the money.

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I fly often, at least 3 times a month, for work, and I book my own travel. Ticket prices vary wildly, but generally speaking if you're flying a route with a lot of competition, the flight will be cheaper.

 

I'm about to book a flight from Atlanta to Pensacola to Jacksonville to Atlanta. Cost? $1100. You read that right. It's just that hardly anyone flies into Pensacola, so that's the big kicker for me.

 

I'm also looking at flights from Atlanta to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It's not until next June, so I'm not booking, just looking. I have to buy 5 of them, and it's about $1100 each or so right now, because there aren't a ton of flights into Jackson Hole. That one hurts, because it's on my own dime instead of company money!

 

Anyway, I can also go today and buy a flight to Los Angeles for less than $300. Major hub to major hub is what makes the difference.

I know other people who have done the Atlanta to Jackson Hole flight. Keep stalking it. It should go down. Everyone talks about having to book lodging really far in advance and then wait for the airline tickets to drop. They always do. Good luck! It's a beautiful place to visit.

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Definitely on the hub to hub prices.  (OP here, just coming back into the conversation - I've pretty much resigned myself to not being able to fly out there now.)

 

 

I flew from DC to LAX for like $150 round trip.  Not bad at all.

 

 

 

Where I'd be going is non-hub, hence the price hike.  Last time I managed to do Richmond to Des Moines for a decent price; this time, I can't find anything anywhere near that cheap.

 

But... that's the way it goes sometimes.  It is what it is.  

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I'm not sure how near the next nearest airport is (for Jackson Hole, WY) but you might seriously look at how far you're willing to drive in order to save money, then price those. We did 5 of us to San Diego, by going to Phoenix and driving the rest of the way, and even adding in the car rental, for the week, it was still cheaper than flying direct. Toss in that we were going to rent a car anyway, and the savings increases even more. Just a thought.

 

Yes, I've considered that, and it's still under consideration, although not likely.

Like I said, I fly a lot, so I'll be monitoring flights and prices before I purchase.  Unfortunately, we have limited vacation time, so spending more than 5 hours driving from Salt Lake City, for example, is not really something we're likely willing to do, particularly after flying for 4 hours to get to SLC in the first place!  

 

Also, none of the airports in driving distance from my home will be a cheaper origination point, either, as most of them would connect through Atlanta anwyay.  

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I know other people who have done the Atlanta to Jackson Hole flight. Keep stalking it. It should go down. Everyone talks about having to book lodging really far in advance and then wait for the airline tickets to drop. They always do. Good luck! It's a beautiful place to visit.

 

Yeah, I won 't be booking yet, for sure.  It's just crazy how expensive it is!  We're excited about it, though.  It's a completely different type of vacation for us, as we usually do something caribbean.  

 

I just used sky miles to buy 5 tickets to NYC, so my mileage account is a bit depleted.  I'm hoping to have enough built up again to cover at least a couple of the tickets, but we'll see.  The longer I wait to buy, the more miles it takes for the tickets.  Catch 22.  

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No kidding.  Nearly 20 years ago I could fly to Germany in the dead of winter for around $325 round trip all inclusive.  Now we are lucky to find flights that cost $800. 

 

 

$325 in 1996 is $499 in 2016 

 

so OP, inflation is a large chunk of it 

 

 

Add the consolidation in the industries which a poster mentioned, plus an aging fleet which means either expensive repairs/retrofits or commissioning new aircraft. 

 

I think you guys in the US had abnormally low airfares for a while during the airline wars, esp on the short to mid-haul flights so that might be part of what you're remembering. 

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$325 in 1996 is $499 in 2016 

 

so OP, inflation is a large chunk of it 

 

 

Add the consolidation in the industries which a poster mentioned, plus an aging fleet which means either expensive repairs/retrofits or commissioning new aircraft. 

 

I think you guys in the US had abnormally low airfares for a while during the airline wars, esp on the short to mid-haul flights so that might be part of what you're remembering. 

 

But that same ticket is now over $800. 

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But that same ticket is now over $800. 

yeah, it doesn't explain all of it but I thought you & regentrude agreed it was an unusually low price, and her dh is flying for 600.  

 

Between inflation & reduction in competition that's pretty much most of the price increase. 

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yeah, it doesn't explain all of it but I thought you & regentrude agreed it was an unusually low price, and her dh is flying for 600.  

 

Between inflation & reduction in competition that's pretty much most of the price increase. 

 

Part of the price difference is she said they weren't flying out of major airports.  Plus maybe they weren't going in the dead of winter.  There is no way I could have gotten that price in the summer or from smaller airports.

 

But even now going in the dead of winter...the prices are WAY higher than can be explained by regular ole inflation.

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yeah, it doesn't explain all of it but I thought you & regentrude agreed it was an unusually low price, and her dh is flying for 600.  

 

Between inflation & reduction in competition that's pretty much most of the price increase. 

 

While I think that on average, flying has gone down in price, I notice that on her ticket she posted there were something like $60 in taxes on a $400 ticket, and spot checking current fares from JFK to FRA show more than $200 in taxes on a $600 flight, so there's a big chunk right there.

Edited by GGardner

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Actually it is really cheap right now. 

 

We have been able to go on a lot of flying trips because the prices are crazy cheap.  $70 tickets  on United.  This deal has been going on for over a year.  It usually is for these cities

Chicago

dallas

atlanta

dc

new york

la

san diego

san fran

denver

orlando

 

and more

 

Where are you flying out of and to? 

That makes a difference.  That and if your dates are not flexible.

 

I don't fly frontier or spirit but you can get cheap airfare there

Is that one way or round trip?

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What I've noticed is that it's just a lot more difficult to find the affordable ones.

 

For example, I remember the first time I went to Europe in 1980, I could get a roundtrip flight to Amsterdam for $450.  There were higher-priced tickets too of course, but the $450 price tag wasn't TOO difficult to find.  Now, it's a lot harder to find one in that price range, but there ARE still ones that are close (a little bit up -- more like $550), if you really search hard, go off-season, on non-major airlines, and out of and into the bigger international hubs.  (New York and London, for example.)  

 

Within the U.S., there are lower-cost airlines that often are still reasonable -- like Southwest, Sun Country, Spirit, and others.  But even then, the earlier you reserve the better, and major hubs are cheapest.  (So going a short distance from one non-major city to another non-major city can be completely unaffordable, whereas you can fly completely across the country -- from San Francisco to New York for example -- for far less.)

 

One thing, I have a vague recollection that sometimes you could get really good deals at the last minute (years ago).  That never happens anymore.  Now, anything saved til the last minute is ridiculously expensive.  

Edited by J-rap

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I think when it comes down to it, it is expensive because it really is an expensive way to travel.  It is very energy intensive.

 

 

I really wish the prices were more reliable, transparent, and really they just renovated the way they sold tickets.  There are other things where prices can fluxuate due to costs, but they don't have such crazy variations or weird practices.

 

I think we may well go back to the older expectations around travel for things like funerals or weddings.  People just generally could not go far for those events, even for people they were fairly close to, in most cases.

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I wish there were more Amtrak routes. Amtrak is actually fun (and with many routes being overnight often are pretty efficient). but from Memphis we can go to Chicago and to New Orleans ;).

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I used to fly to China for under $600 round trip with open ended return. In 2005 my ex's one way ticket was $300. Now it's a deal to find anything under $2000 roundtrip.

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I believe one must have a "threshold" price for an airline trip they want to go on, and if/when the price is at or below their threshold, they must purchase their tickets, immediately.  On a recent domestic trip to Bogota, I came in here, to "the office", about 5 A.M. and saw a great fare. I waited until my wife woke up and then I told her, "I wanted to wake you up, but I didn't want to wake you up".  Fortunately, the fare was still available, after she woke up, and we bought and paid for our tickets at that time. My wife told me then, "you should have woken me up!".

 

For our trip from Cali, Colombia to Orlando, I consider USD$400 or below a very low price (including all the taxes and service charges they add on).  We jumped in March, when it was just under USD$301 per person, round trip, for our April trip..   :hurray:

 

There are always price fluctuations and one must understand that some people will pay more and some people might pay less, but if one is comfortable with a price, for an airline ticket or a cell phone, or whatever, I believe one should go for it.

 

If someone is going on a trip during "Peak" season (Spring Break, Summer,  Christmas, etc.) then one must be realistic and expect to pay more than if the same trip was taken during "Normal" or "Value" season.    Airline management must get the maximum yield, per seat, per RPM (Revenue Passenger Mile) that is possible, on each and every flight. 

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The worst crap is that a lot of these "we show you all the flights for the best price" sites are nasty.  If you look at the flights you want more than once they start jacking up the price.  We went to purchase our tickets and the card was rejected for potential fraud (should have called them ahead for such a large purchase but we just didn't think of it).  So once we straightened that out (a matter of minutes) we tried again and within that time they had raised the price. 

 

 

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I wish there were more Amtrak routes. Amtrak is actually fun (and with many routes being overnight often are pretty efficient). but from Memphis we can go to Chicago and to New Orleans ;).

 

I love taking Amtrak.  So much more legroom.  It's not all that inexpensive either though and takes a lot longer. 

 

We have taken it to NYC before.  That worked out well because we have a station down the street on the bus line. 

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I can't complain too hard I suppose.  I just looked back at the tickets we bought.  $630 PP, but then we paid extra for luggage and reserved seats (quite a bit more, but I can't recall what).  That also does not include food and they have no entertainment.  This was rock bottom bargain bin no frills stuff.  We still saved even with adding in luggage and reserved seating. 

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Don't know if this is the case for him, but when my husband has to buy tickets for work trips, he is required to use the employer's travel service.  The tickets are always more than what we could get privately, but they can be cancelled or changed (which always costs more). 

 

The Full Fare tickets are incredibly expensive, but they provide flexibility that a heavily discounted, non refundable ticket, will never provide.  When we went from Colombia up to Orlando, in April, I told my wife and daughter, before our flight, "there are quite a few people in the coach cabin who paid 2 or 3 times what we did for our tickets".  Last minute purchasers usually pay the highest fares.  When Full Fare passengers, with the flexibility your DH gets with Full Fare tickets, cancel their reservations, that is why, sometimes, at the last minute, the airline will have some very low price fares available, again.

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I can't complain too hard I suppose.  I just looked back at the tickets we bought.  $630 PP, but then we paid extra for luggage and reserved seats (quite a bit more, but I can't recall what).  That also does not include food and they have no entertainment.  This was rock bottom bargain bin no frills stuff.  We still saved even with adding in luggage and reserved seating. 

 

I have no clue about domestic flights in the USA, because they charge extra, for everything. Very complex.  On International flights we take, everything is included.  Even on our shortest domestic flights,  (Cai to Bogota, 35 minutes flying time) there are no extra charges.

 

My wife has a (Colombian) friend who lives in California.  She comes down here, once or twice a year, on Spirit Airlines.  I would have no clue and going on Spirit would probably end up  costing us twice as much as going on a Colombian airline like Avianca, which  provides services that are far far superior to those of Spirit.  She understands the Spirit regulations, but, I suspect she also has clothes that she leaves here, so she doesn't have any baggage (carry on or checked).   

 

Note: I always check the fare on the airline web site, before buying tickets from the OTA (Online Travel Agency, like Travelocity). The total should be very very close, on the OTA  web site. to the fare for the same flights/fare basis on the airline web site.  . Within pennies or a dollar, IMO.  If not, I would book directly on the airline web site.  I like the OTA web sites, because I get a quick look at everything available in their SERPs.  

 

There is one advantage to booking directly on the airline web site and that is that if you buy directly from them, you are their customer. If you buy from an OTA (or other Travel Agency), you are the customer of the OTA/Travel Agency.  Then, if you call the airline and want/need them to change something, they will probably tell you to contact the OTA/Travel Agency.  

 

With the exception of the Timeshare Rental, which we bought on eBay, we bought everything for the Orlando trip (Airline, Car Rental and Travel Insurance) from the OTA and there were no issues with anything.  

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Oh no these are international flights.  This is basically a budget airline that charges for anything extra.  But then you can decide what you want to pay for or not.  We still come out ahead so it works out. 

 

 

I have no clue about domestic flights in the USA, because they charge extra, for everything. Very complex.  On International flights we take, everything is included.  Even on our shortest domestic flights,  (Cai to Bogota, 35 minutes flying time) there are no extra charges.

 

My wife has a (Colombian) friend who lives in California.  She comes down here, once or twice a year, on Spirit Airlines.  I would have no clue and going on Spirit would probably end up  costing us twice as much as going on a Colombian airline like Avianca, which  provides services that are far far superior to those of Spirit.  She understands the Spirit regulations, but, I suspect she also has clothes that she leaves here, so she doesn't have any baggage (carry on or checked).   

 

Note: I always check the fare on the airline web site, before buying tickets from the OTA (Online Travel Agency, like Travelocity). The total should be very very close, on the OTA  web site. to the fare for the same flights/fare basis on the airline web site.  . Within pennies or a dollar, IMO.  If not, I would book directly on the airline web site.  I like the OTA web sites, because I get a quick look at everything available in their SERPs.  

 

There is one advantage to booking directly on the airline web site and that is that if you buy directly from them, you are their customer. If you buy from an OTA (or other Travel Agency), you are the customer of the OTA/Travel Agency.  Then, if you call the airline and want/need them to change something, they will probably tell you to contact the OTA/Travel Agency.  

 

With the exception of the Timeshare Rental, which we bought on eBay, we bought everything for the Orlando trip (Airline, Car Rental and Travel Insurance) from the OTA and there were no issues with anything.  

 

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Oh no these are international flights.  This is basically a budget airline that charges for anything extra.  But then you can decide what you want to pay for or not.  We still come out ahead so it works out. 

 

If you believe the OTA is increasing the fare they show you, because you visit their web site, again. and check for that same route/day/flight, again, I would  be looking to use a different OTA.  The fares and availability do change.  Once, I think this was a year or so ago, we were going to go from Cali to Bogota,   round trip, for a reunion my wife was going to participate in.  A friend of hers wanted to go with us.  By the time my wife got her friend on the phone and explained to her, to be sure she was available, when I checked the availability, the seats were gone...

 

I would not check using a MAC, to purchase anything that costs more than a few dollars (we don't have a MAC, so that is not an issue for us).  I read, years ago, of some web sites,  I don't remember what they were selling, showing higher prices, to people visiting with a MAC, than the prices they showed to people visiting with a Windows box.

 

If you save enough money to make it worthwhile, than go with the budget airline and have a great trip, whichever airline you go with!

 

Some airlines are kinder, and have low fares available, far in advance of the trip.  I am still amazed that Avianca does that.  Most airlines will have high fares available, far in advance of departure, and then there is a "window", approximately 30 to 90 days ahead of departure, depending on the route and season, where low fares are offered.  If you are going, for example, from the USA to Europe, now, during the Summer, this is high season and you will pay $$$$.  

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Dh flies  form Australia to Canada just about every year. the prices haven't really changed in over 10 years. which is pretty amazing seeing as everything else has pretty much doubled.

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On one or two OTA web sites, sign up for their Fare Checking "Agent" to notify you, when the fare decreases by "N" dollars or reaches your threshold price. Sometimes they catch things that you will not catch. Also, sign up for the Frequent Flyer program of the airline you want to go on, if they have one, and they will probably send you  promotional emails. You might find one that catches your interest.  Click Delete for those you are not interested in.Which reminds me that I need to suggest to Jet Blue that they begin nonstop service from Cali to Orlando, ASAP...If you are going to be in the same place for 7 nights, look into the possibility of renting a Timeshare. That spoiled us, for staying in a normal hotel, and that saved us a ton of money.

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I think flying is more expensive these days. I started traveling for work in 2007 and the same flights cost much more today than they did then. I know there has been inflation but the price difference is more than you would expect from inflation. 

 

I think part of it is due to there being less flights so the airlines can sell more tickets at higher prices because there are less options. When I first began traveling for work, it was easy to jump on a different flight coming home if a meeting got out earlier. Now I can hardly ever get on a different flight because all of the flights are full. 

 

 

 

 

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I hear you.  When I looked at prices 4 years ago when my dad died, it was way out of budget for us to fly.  I looked again recently for a reunion and it is not much better.  I have 4 weeks notice this time, but it is still pushing the budget.  Plus rental car.......

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