I’ve spent most of this week doing radio and TV interviews about summer travel trends. (Check ’em out! Good Morning America. KCBS. Bloomberg/BusinessWeek.)
As usual, the stations want me to peel off a list of all the great travel deals out there.
But the reality is that nearly all the good airfare deals are gone. That’s right. If you want to travel during peak summer travel season, those dirt-cheap deals you might be hoping for are, well, dust in the wind.
Here are a few sound bites I’ve been tossing around:
>Over the course of this week, most major airlines raised fares $20 to $60 dollars round trip during the peak summer travel season, which runs from mid-June to mid-August. These are some of the most aggressive fare increases for peak summer travel season that I’ve ever seen.
>When airlines are aggressive like they’ve been this week, it means that it’s very clear to them that people are willing to pay higher fares. They would not raise fares if they were not confident we’d buy them.
>Airlines are calling these fare increases “surcharges” for technical reasons. However, when you are fare shopping online, those surcharges are already added into the fares you see and compare. Don’t get tripped up by semantics. Surcharges = fare increases.
>If you’ve been waiting around hoping you might luck into a great fare, I’m afraid your luck has run out. If you find a summer peak season fare that seems somewhat reasonable, book it now, because I’m afraid it’s only going to go up from here.
>People who last week may have found a pretty good fare but thought they would wait a week were greeted with surcharges this week. A fare that was $400 last week is $460 this week.
>Travelers have had a lot of cabin fever now because they’ve shunned vacations due to recent financial worries. If they did go out, they took shorter trips or they maybe stayed at less expensive hotels or they stayed with friends. But now the summer is here. They haven’t taken a vacation in a while and they’re ready to go. And they seem ready to pay more.
>Some lower prices: While airfares are up, hotel rates are on par with last summer (which means historic lows.) Also, after a year of sharp increases, rental car rates could be down as much as 15 percent compared to last summer. In addition, travelers headed to Europe will find that a stronger dollar will lead to lower prices.
>There are two windows of opportunity for good deals this summer. The first two weeks of June and the last two weeks of August. If you have the flexibility to travel during these windows, you’ll pay less than during the peak (roughly June 15-August 15).
>Other strategies for lower fares (but higher potential for hassles): Take a one-stop flight instead of a nonstop. Take an overnight flight or a very early or very late night flight or fly on an off-peak day. Monday and Tuesday are going to be the slowest days this summer– that’s when you are going to find those surcharges the smallest.
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Douglas Astriker says
I found $822RT to Sydney for Labor Day on Delta, one stop in LA for 3 hours. Great deal, have to be flexible on seasons I am learning, it was 110k miles per ticket for a coach ticket to Europe in July. Thanks for all the posts!