Cheaper Summer Destinations: Flights that Cost Less

There will not be any truly cheap flights this summer, but some vacation destinations are less expensive to fly to than others as airfare analyst Rick Seaney noted in his recent column, Six Cheapest Destinations for Summer Vacation Travel. Said Seaney:

“The tide on pricing is rising but there are still pockets of deals around. It’s just that those pockets are getting smaller.” – Rick Seaney

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Where it’s Cheap

For the record, six of the cheaper U.S. domestic destinations for summer include Boston, Denver, Florida panhandle beaches, greater Los Angeles area, Orlando and Washington, D.C.

Plus you can expect those pockets to only get more expensive: “I would expect about one airfare hike attempt a month,” said Seaney, “with about half those attempts being successful.”

But why such a difference in the price of airline tickets?

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Why it’s Cheap

There are a few reasons. For instance, prices can vary wildly by route as the airlines grapple with contractions by the big carriers due to mergers and capacity cutting. Also, factor in the counterbalance of low-cost airlines coming in to “scoop up some of the cream left by contracting legacy carriers,” as Seaney put it – and he provided the following examples:

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Some Downward Trending Airfare Cities

Flights to the Bahamas: These are probably a little cheaper because of a drop in passenger demand due to a surge in interest (and flights) to Costa Rica. Also, the Caribbean normally drops in price as the summer progresses due to hurricane jitters.

Flights between Phoenix and New York City: The dip is related to a slot swap between US Airways and Delta at LaGuardia. US Airways meanwhile tweaks pricing at Newark and JFK to compensate.

Flights between Denver and New York City: Denver has become a magnet for competition. The Mile High City boasts service from Frontier, Southwest and United which is why it lands on my cheaper destination list, and is a relative bargain for departures, too.

Summer’s Coast-to-Coast Bargain: Under $350 Roundtrip

Remember how, not so long ago, you could jet across the country for about $99 each-way? Not this summer – but you can count it as a relative bargain if you score a coast-to-coast deal for less than $350 round-trip.


Published: April 27, 2012