The travel outlook is definitely up for the rest of the year … and so are the prices for the spring and summer travel seasons.
Just try and get an airline deal for popular (warm) destinations during spring break. Most of those were snapped up way before Christmas.
The airlines have implemented five consecutive fare hikes since December and made them stick. And fuel surcharges are starting to re-enter ticket pricing.
Surprisingly enough, discount leader Southwest Airlines is beginning to fall in line with the price hikes. They even led a recent hike which all competing carriers immediately followed.
It’s a simple case of supply and demand … more people wanting to fly with less available capacity = fewer discounted seats higher fares. With Southwest’s pending purchase of competing discounter AirTran, what do you think that’ll do for fares?
The same holds true for hotel room pricing which also has been creeping up moderately during the past several months. Even hotel-overloaded Las Vegas has been able to increase room rates from its 2009-2010 lows.
Oh, and if you haven’t rented a car lately, prepare yourself for a few more sticker shocks.
U.S. airline pricing has taken much of its a la carte price boost directly from European carriers. What will they be up to NEXT?
* How about a fee for talking to an agent?
* There could be an airline check-in charge.
* And – ouch … a fee to store your one carry-on bag in the overhead bin!
* Fees for priority boarding.
* Infant fees for lap children.
* Counter costs for passengers who don’t use self-service kiosks.
* Use of the in-flight toilet.
* And this one being implemented in March by British Airways for their European customers: BA will charge a 4.50 pound (approximately $7) credit card fee for all non-premium cabin bookings made with plastic through U.K. based agencies.
It’s all about ancillary income which could amount up to 35% of the airlines overall future revenues.
The overall outlook forecasts higher prices for coming months and we’ll be at the mercy of airline, hotel and car rental industries.
SWEPT AWAY … some thoughts for all of you who have shown hesitation toward Mexico vacations (i.e. Cancun, Puerta Vallarta) due to reported violence in that country.
Let it be known that the crime is primarily concentrated in NON-TOURIST areas and mostly affects only members of drug cartels. An AP report found that crime across Mexico varied greatly, most of it being concentrated in the border state of Chihuahua.
In popular cruise and vacation regions, the homicide rate is about 5 per 100,000 – low to average even by U.S. standards.
So, a great all-inclusive Mexican resort vacation still gives you the biggest bang for the American buck!