Jump to content

Air Travel Discounts abounding


Recommended Posts

NY Times has an article today about the sharp increase in steep discounts for air travel. They say it's never been easier to find cheap seats, or get an upgrade to a better class or seat.

 

The situation is caused by the substantial decline in travel demand, much more than the reduction in seats available by the airlines.

 

 

Not only is the extent of the discounts extraordinary — $158 for a round-trip ticket between Denver and Houston on a sale announced Monday by Frontier Airlines; $548 on Delta between New York and Dublin; $598 round trip between Los Angeles or New York to Australia in Qantas. The time frame is often extraordinary as well. Fare sales like these are usually limited to slack travel periods in winter. Many of these extend into the summer.

 

I sort these fares on the major travel aggregator sites like Kayak, TripAdvisor, Fly.com and FareCompare, which make comparison shopping easy. If you’re flexible (Saturday night stay requirements are often tucked into these fares to make them unattractive to business travelers), shop around and have a ball. It’s a great time for cheap travel.

 

And it’s not going to last.

 

Two fundamental shifts in air travel are under way. One is that airlines are horrified at the falloff in passenger traffic and are scrubbing flights, dropping routes and parking more planes in the desert to shrink capacity, even beyond announced reductions, to keep planes flying full.

 

And two, the “unbundling” of services that began with charges for snacks and checked bags is emerging as the new economic model for the shrunken air travel system.

 

Forget about the guy from Ryanair who recently got all that publicity by speculating about installing pay toilets on planes. Instead, look at the methodical way that the domestic airlines are planning for a future in which booking a flight will be a little like ordering from a Chinese takeout menu. That is, it will be efficient, user friendly and full of à la carte choices.

 

“Three or four years ago, airlines got fed up with their tickets being priced like bushels of wheat on a commodities exchange, so they set out a strategy for how to make prices less transparent,” said Rick Seaney, the chief executive of FareCompare.com.

 

The strategy was based on imposing extra fees on an increasing number of amenities and services — not just checked bags and in-flight pillows, but an expanding range of add-ons like exit row seats, priority seating and boarding, in-flight entertainment or Wi-Fi, and on and on.

 

These fees raise cash for the airlines. But they annoy customers, who are having a hard time figuring out what a trip costs once they make their choices. Usually, they find out when they arrive at the airport or on board the flight. As I said last week, TripAdvisor.com added a useful feature to its flight search site that lets you click on the thousands of itinerary options, including fee-based services, so you can get the actual price.

 

The airlines are aware that customers shop around online and that they hate trying to figure out fees. So they are currently working with other ticket distributors on a complex system that Mr. Seaney said will expand the fee checklists and allow all distributors, whether an airline itself or an online travel agency, to be more uniformly precise in just what a customer is ordering.

 

 

In the air, again

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...
Yeah, Alaska Airlines non-stop Sea-Tac-Santa Barbara for $149 rt last week. Come play with me! But they still want $500 for Sea-Tac to Anchorage. Boo.

But the $500 includes an hour with Sarah on the firing range.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alaska Airlines is having a 30% off sale, every day this month they will announce one city that is 30%off. It's just one a day, like woot for plane tickets. Today is New York (Newark), yesterday was Phoenix

 

British Airways did that a few years ago. Every morning we'd log on to see what that days destination was - the deals were great!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alaska Airlines is having a 30% off sale, every day this month they will announce one city that is 30%off. It's just one a day, like woot for plane tickets. Today is New York (Newark), yesterday was Phoenix

 

British Airways did that a few years ago. Every morning we'd log on to see what that days destination was - the deals were great!

 

Continental does this from time to time on their elite website. They usually price it n elite points or cash, but the major objective is to put a butt in the seat. $129 Newark to New Orleans, $99 Houston to Chicago, etc pop up often.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...