Podcast: Rick Seaney on Fall Airfare Forecast

FareCompare co-founder and travel expert Rick Seaney offers money-saving tips and travel strategies in his weekly podcasts with FareCompare editor Anne McDermott.

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Rick Seaney: Hey Everybody, thank you for joining us on FareCompare weekly podcast. My name is Rick Seaney, I am a co founder of FareCompare.com. We’re gonna chat a little bit, I know it is deep in the middle of summer. We gonna chat a little bit about fall fare forecast. I’ve been spending some time with some of our data looking at where things are around the country and hope to share few tid bits with you and joining me today is our editor on the website to help me put together the article for our website and also one for USA Today and is Anne McDermott.

Anne McDermott: Hey Rick I know you think Fall is the best time to fly, how come?

Rick Seaney: For me as I have kids, its absolutely the best time to fly because its the best value for sort of temperature and price. The heat of the summer is away, the prices drop by 30% , it is certainly not cheap as winter time, but unless you are going for skiing which I love to do as well. You know winter time is not easy to go especially in certain parts of the country. So I think of it as sort of best value of the year. Its really that sort of September, October, first two weeks of November. You get a little bit of winter time in first two weeks of December. So basically that 10 weeks period, in my opinion is the best time to fly both domestic and international.

Anne McDermott: I know we were talking about this thing earlier. You were mentioning about some cheaper places to fly and some of them are old favorites but they were some really some hidden gems in there. The names, cities, the destinations hadn’t come  up before.

Rick Seaney: Yeah, everything changes every year. Its sort of crazy , I mean airlines reduce capacity on certain routes, they defocus certain cities, there is less competition, so some perennial favorites that are still cheap. Seattle, has been, honestly, Anne, I’ve  never seen it so cheap in the last sort of 10 months. Seattle is a great destination by the way its great to go in September, one of the best places in the world to go. Certainly as you go down the coastline, to Los Angeles is right now cheapest competitor to its twin Southernly and Nothernly cities of San Francisco and San Diego running around 15 -20% cheaper. Mainly because of there’s a lot of competition, there’s many airports you have to pick between in Los Angeles area. The absolute cheapest city in the country, that I can tell, is Denver at the moment. Its been that way for almost a year, we’ve been talking about it. You got Southwest Frontier, United, now Spirit in certain markets is flying in there. I was just doing a radio show here in Dallas. $138 round trip to Denver out from Dallas for next 2-3 months, out of Dallas, is an amazing pricing.

Anne McDermott: Yeah and mid section of the country has couple of surprises too. Minneapolis!

Rick Seaney: Yea we talked about Minneapolis the other day. One of my favorite places to go in summer time, sort of late summer or early fall. Really an amazing area of the country to go, not many people think of it. Another place that I really enjoy that time of year, is New Orleans which is been a little more expensive in past year, so it looks to be a little bit cheaper than we saw recently. And then as you head towards Florida, Fort Lauderdale is was running 15% less than Miami, and they are only, what,  about 25 -30 miles apart.

Anne McDermott: And in Northeast you got few places choose from.

Rick Seaney: Yeah, you know we’ve been were talking about Boston last year but I would have another place, Philadelphia into that mix. Philadelphia has actually gotten some cheaper prices with US Airways in process of merging with American airlines is very aggressive into Philadelphia, here recently. So another great place to visit, lot of history there and places you can actually go with couple of hours radius. I definitely would wholeheartedly recommend Philadelphia.

Anne McDermott: Pretty Autumn leaves too which you are not gonna find in the Caribbean but there are some cheap places to go to that will make it worth while.

Rick Seaney: Yeah also we should go to the Caribbean, in all those different places down there, Nassau being sort of the cheapest, Porto Rico. Its amazing for me to watch sort of transformation of Porto Rico from being an American airlines hub, for lack of better term, to become jet blue hub. Those from north east are definitely gonna get better prices. Bermuda is always sort of cheap in the north eastern area if you want to do that as well and then as we get into Europe, Anne, things change a little bit, over the last years forecast.

Anne McDermott: What is the big change?

Rick Seaney: The big change I would say is Scandinavia, I was really surprised to see places like Copenhagen, some cities in Norway and Sweden actually dropped prices pretty dramatically. Great fall prices even in the $700s from the northeast in the Copenhagen, i have never really seen that. Just remember, for Europe the average roundtrip costs for fuel surcharges is around $455 dollars roundtrip. The taxes are about $165. That means, its $600 before you start to pay for airfare. So these $700 prices means you are paying under $100 each way. Basically, to go to Europe, that’s about as good as it gets.

Anne McDermott: How can they do that?

Rick Seaney: In this particular case, it looks like that certain airlines are competing for that business. Certainly Europe’s economy hasn’t been very good so they are not getting inbound traffic from Europe. So they are having to  discount a little bit but they are going to discount below that, minimum cost for fuel surcharge. Certainly Ireland is running way below everybody else, that’s because of low cost airlines and its location. Even London is cheaper than its been in last 2-3 years, I am surprised because usually I always say that trifecta is going to be expensive, London, Paris and Rome. This year its a duopoly Paris and Rome that are the most expensive.

Anne McDermott: So fall if you can get away its a great time.

Rick Seaney: I will whole heartedly get people – you need to be shopping in this time frame right now, for those fall tickets if you want to fly in September. Maybe wait a couple of weeks if you are flying later in September or October domestically. And for international travel, right now is the best time.

Anne McDermott: I am actually going to take a look at FareCompare right now, Thanks Rick!


Published: July 26, 2013