Airfares Dip on Last-Minute Holiday Trips

Ugly economy pushes demand down, along with price of fuel
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 24, 2008 12:14 PM CST
Airlines are dropping fairs in a surprise move.   (Graphic: Business Wire)
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(Newser) – With many consumers too concerned about their wallets to make pricey trips, airlines are, for the first time in memory, lowering prices before the holidays, the Chicago Tribune reports. The reversal of convention is allowing late buyers to scrounge tickets for as much as $200 less than travelers who locked in prices over the summer, when fares reflected much higher oil prices, the San Jose Mercury News adds.

Struggling airlines recently cut capacity about 10%, thinking it would drive prices up and keep cabins full. But with so many Americans worried about the economy, seats were going unclaimed—thus the discounts. New fees introduced this year may have driven away more customers. “A lot of consumers are just frustrated,” one analyst said. “They're going, ‘Guess what? Why don't we just drive?’”