Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rising Airfares Will Make It Harder to Save on Vacations This Summer: Experts

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Rising Airfares Will Make It Harder to Save on Vacations This Summer: Experts

Article excerpt

Finding vacations deals harder this year


MONTREAL - If you've been procrastinating on plans for the family's summer vacation, you're going to need to move fast as rising airfares and packed flights have made it tough to find deals, but there are still a few tricks that could help, experts say.

Ticket prices are up one per cent for travel this summer -- and that's on top of last year when they were the highest in eight years, said Rick Seaney, CEO of U.S.-based travel website

There are several other factors working against late planners, including a number of mega airline mergers in the United States that have put a damper on price competition.

Airlines have also been cutting seat capacity over the last few years in the face of high fuel prices and a weak economy, leaving the industry with fuller planes and less incentive to offer great deals to customers.

"This summer people are going to be shopping for airfares and getting some sticker shock in certain cases," Seaney said in an interview from Dallas.

But he remained optimistic that strategic planning could still unearth a few good deals.

One approach is to plan your trip outside of peak vacation periods, but considering that summer travel season is upon us, you'll have to be a little more crafty.

Consider flying during the last 10 days in August because fewer families embark on big vacations when the kids are about to return to school, which means airlines begin to offer more discounts.

And be prepared to react quickly to a good ticket price, because often they don't stick around.

The best deals this year are Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and Spain, while prices are higher on flights to London, Paris and Rome. Korea and Tokyo are cheaper while Australia offers off-season deals.

Prices within Canada are relatively stable because there's just not enough competition to push prices down too much, said Seaney.

Industry observers don't believe that Air Canada Rouge or WestJet Encore will have much immediate impact on fares because they will each operate just a few aircraft this summer.

For travel to the U.S., consider major cities like Austin and San Antonio which are both trying to boost tourism. …

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