The Travel Professor
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Airfares: Risng or falling

I’ve mentioned the reduction in scheduled air service and how this decreased flight schedule should lead to increased fares. This has occurred across the country but it appears that some markets are not being impacted at all with rapidly rising fares. Select gateways continue to offer stable or even bargain fares especially when compared to surrounding departure points.

Why? The presence of a low cost no frills carrier appears to be the reason for this fare stabilization. Airlines like Air Tran, Jet Blue, Virgin American and Southwest have had a tempering effect on the legacy carriers and this has helped keep the fares from escalating out of control.

For example look at Columbus OH and the markets served by Southwest Airlines. Their ticket prices have not increased as rapidly as have the prices in the cities that they do not fly to. When Skybus and Jet Blue operated out of here the fares in the markets they service were kept low. Due to competition over passengers the other carriers have been forced to match low fares these companies offer. Once these firms disappeared from the radar screens thereby reducing competition the ticket prices rose quickly.

The opposite of this is found in Cincinnati OH. A fortress hub of Delta Airlines there is little competition between airlines so the prices remain high.

Air travelers from the Tri-State are fortunate in their air travel departure options. Within a 2 to 3 hour drive we can fly out of Huntington Tri-State, Charleston’s Yeager, Greater Columbus and Cincinnati. Lexington, Louisville and Dayton are some additional options. Search the different airports drive a little and save a lot.

Happy travels.