Cant afford those summer flights? No wonder


Cant afford those summer flights? No wonder

t’s not your imagination: Flying is getting more expensive, and not just because airlines keep piling on fees for checked bags, popular seats and even carry-ons. Fares for summer travel are up, way up, according to Bing Travel, a website that, among other services, forecasts flight and hotel prices based on data trends.

In fact, says Joel Grus, the Bing “fareologist” who analyzes the data, “Fares are pretty close to where we were in 2008 before the stock market problems.”

Ready for sticker shock? Check out these Los Angeles (LAX) figures from Grus, who added that national trends are similar:

>The average domestic summer airfare from LAX is up 22%  this year compared with the same time last year. That means we’re paying, on average, $351 per round trip instead of $287.

> The average summer airfare for LAX-Europe is up 35%, meaning we’re paying an average of $1,362 per round trip instead of $1,010. For a family of four, that means $1,408 less to spend once they get to the Continent — if they decide to go at all, at these prices.

 

“The year 2009 was actually pretty affordable,” Grus said in an interview this week.  “But since then, weve seen a lot of airlines cut capacity, so that puts upward pressure on prices. The price of oil is starting to creep back up as well. ”

Even summer fares from LAX to the Caribbean and Mexico — the latter battered by drug-related violence and State Department warnings that have discouraged travel — are up 10% this year. And LAX-Cancun is up even more, by 30%, to $470 round trip from $363 last year.

Not every route is more expensive, of course. If you’re looking for cheaper flights from LAX, try Reno (down 27% from last year), Milwaukee (down 10%) or Boise, Idaho,  or Anchorage (both down 4%).

Or just delay your travel.

“If you can wait until the end of August or even September, fares are currently lower then,” Grus said. You’ll pay 10% less on average in September compared with June or July for domestic flights, he said; the savings for Europe flights is running even higher, at about 25%.

Note for the numbers-minded: Grus said he based his figures on the average of the lowest fares that were posted online within the last two months for travel on various dates from June through August. From LAX, he tracked 55 domestic destinations, five in Europe and eight total from Mexico and the Caribbean combined.

-Jane Engle, assistant Los Angeles Times Travel editor

Photo: Passengers line up for flights at London’s Heathrow Airport on April 21. Airfares to Europe for summer are running ahead of last year’s prices, one survey found. Credit: Andy Rain / EPA

By LA Times



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