Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fares Are Cheap; Airlines Don't Want Them to Stay That Way

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fares Are Cheap; Airlines Don't Want Them to Stay That Way

Article excerpt

DALLAS * Enjoy lower airfares while you can. Airlines are taking steps to push prices higher by next year.

Fares have been dropping for more than a year. Taking inflation into account, the average round trip within the U.S. in late 2015 was the lowest since 2010.

Ticket prices have fallen even further this year, according to the airlines. Not only is flying from Dallas to Denver cheap, but popular international vacation destinations such as Europe are more affordable.

Fliers can thank the steep plunge in oil prices since mid-2014. As they saved billions of dollars on jet fuel, both domestic and international carriers added supply seats faster than travel demand was growing.

The major airlines have announced steps to rein in the oversupply, but such changes can't happen overnight, so fares will remain affordable for the peak travel season.

One downside: Be prepared to spend a few more hours of your vacation standing in an airport security line.

The number of airline passengers this summer is expected to rise 4 percent over last year's record level. That, along with fewer Transportation Security Administration screeners, is expected to produce long lines.

American Airlines and United Airlines say they each plan to spend about $4 million on contractors who will help TSA by handling some of the nonscreening duties at airport checkpoints, such as running bins and managing the lines.

Stories about horrific lines might be an opportunity for last- minute deals, according to Pauline Frommer, editorial director of the travel guide company Frommer's.

"If American Airlines is going to spend $4 million of its own money, obviously the airlines are nervous about not being able to sell last-minute seats," she said. "I wonder if this rash of bad publicity won't make getting a last-minute booking more affordable. …

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