Gulf City Airfare Trending Down to Hardest Hit Areas

With sickening video of oil on the marshes off the coast of Louisiana permeating the air waves it is no wonder some summer travelers are recalibrating there travel plans.

Earlier this week I was curious about how the gulf oil spill was effecting airline prices over the past couple of weeks and took a close look at average cheapest airline ticket prices to New Orleans (which seems to be the hardest hit by the spill at this point).

Today I began looking at other cities off around the gulf coast to see if the same downward trend was happening — especially in Florida. It doesn’t appear that ticket prices have trended down in cities further away from Louisiana, like Mobile, Tampa, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale (links are to airfare comparison 2009 vs. 2010) — yet.

However, along with New Orleans, data from our proprietary historical database shows that Gulfport/Biloxi (a popular gambling destination) appears to be trending down significantly the past 2 weeks:

Average Cheapest Roundtrip Airline Ticket Prices to Gulfport/Biloxi

While it is not unusual for sales to initiate short term (3 days usually) downward trends, a two week downward trend could likely be related to drop in demand.

It should also be noted that there is not a huge number of seats into Gulfport/Biloxi each day so the downward trending airline ticket data from top U.S. cities to New Orleans is probably more significant and likely related to a drop in demand (bucking the nationwide trend in higher prices).

The bottom line is that downward trends seemed to be contained in the Louisiana/Mississippi area for now, but that could change if this spill is prolonged and as some are predicting makes it’s way to Florida and up the Southeastern seaboard.

NASA image (April 27) courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team

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Published: May 27, 2010