Categorized | Airlines

Holiday fares high but holding steady…

Posted on 01 November 2011

Fares for the holiday season are among the most expensive in the last decade as airlines aggressively cut capacity, but a dramatic fourth-quarter fare hike anticipated earlier this year has not materialized, according


Fares for Thanksgiving travel have increased 6% from a year ago, and Christmas fares are 3% higher, Priceline says, using data from bookings made on the site.


“Holiday fares are still among the most expensive seen in the last decade. This may be one reason why they’ve remained relatively stable,” says Brian Ek of Priceline, in an e-mail. “Another possible reason is that the fare is only one component of holiday air travel costs. Perhaps the airlines can afford to keep fares in line because they’ll make additional money (on fees).”


Several airlines had announced earlier this year that they will cut flights or seats by 2% to 5% for the fourth quarter, indicating that fares would possibly rise leading up to the holiday period. But the run-up “has yet to materialize,” Ek says.


The national average for Thanksgiving fares was $400 at the beginning of October but has risen by only $7 in the last four weeks, Priceline says. The $407 fare is 6% higher than a year ago.


In early October, Christmas fares averaged $475 but has dropped in the last four weeks to $451, which is still 3% higher than last year

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