Fall Forecast: More Airfare Hike Attempts Amidst Cheaper Prices

Last week, United launched another airfare hike attempt. It failed, but you can be sure at least one of the airlines will try again. In the meantime, airfare prices are heading south.

$39 Flights are Back

Just check the Deals Blog and see for yourself. Airlines are dropping summer surcharges and we’re seeing prices that hearken back to days of yore like Long Beach to Vegas for $39 one-way. Most of these cheaper fares kick in toward the end of August, the traditional drop-off point for those high summer vacation fares. The lower prices make any hikes a little easier to bear.

The Cheap Airline that Breaks All the Rules

More Hike Attempts to Come

We do expect more hike attempts, though not necessarily more successful ones. The reason for this is airlines don’t launch hikes just to make money. Yes, it’s the main reason, but airlines are also probing appetite for hikes – meaning acceptance or resistance. Once a hike attempt is in play, airlines can quickly determine whether bookings continue as normal or a significant number of people quit buying tickets. When the latter happens, the attempt at higher prices is withdrawn.

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Fall Fares: Significantly Cheaper

Bottom line: The successful $10 price hike of United’s back on July 20 that most other airlines joined in on is not going to be a deal breaker for anyone planning a flight to fall foliage country.

Thanksgiving Travelers: When to Shop to Save

Next Big Increase: Thanksgiving

Now is the time to find a cheap flight to a fall vacation getaway – no crowds and no expensive summer surcharges. You actually have two more chances to save through the end of the year: fly late summer through early November, and fly in the first couple of weeks of December. Yes, the expensive holidays will be here before you know it – but we can still help you save at Thanksgiving.

More from Rick Seaney:

Airfare Hikes, Dirt Cheap Prices


Published: August 9, 2012