Holiday Fares Headed for Stratosphere

Recession doesn't seem to be dampening travel enthusiasm
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2009 9:12 AM CDT
In this Sept. 1, 2009 file photo, a Southwest Airlines 737 takes off from Midway Airport in Chicago.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, file)
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(Newser) – If you haven’t booked your holiday airfare yet, stop reading this and do it. Unlike last year, when airlines dropped prices at the last minute to fill unusually empty planes, prices this fall are on a decidedly upward trajectory, the New York Times reports. Last week, overall Thanksgiving fares rose 6%, with the most popular itinerary—departing Wednesday, returning Sunday—up 10%.

Some flights have been especially fast risers; a round trip from New York to Chicago would have cost you $354 on Sept. 14; now, it’s $540. “Travelers should be shopping now,” said a Bing Travel analyst. “If the price seems good to them, they should get it.” Last year’s downturn is actually responsible for this year’s hikes; airlines have grounded planes, meaning there are fewer seats to meet the demand.