Finally, a small sliver of good news for air travelers: Summer airfares are falling.
According to a report from the Airlines Reporting Corp, domestic airfares are $2.01 cheaper compared to last summer; that's a less than 1 percent drop. The average price for a plane ticket in the U.S. this summer is $454.
Europe fares have fallen slightly too. You'll pay, on average, 50 bucks less than you would have for a flight to Europe in summer 2014—a 3 percent reduction. The average cost of a roundtrip flight from the U.S. to Europe this summer: $1,619.
Not all destinations are equally affordable. The report shows that New York, Denver and San Francisco will be more expensive, while tickets to Hawaii, Florida and New Orleans will be especially cheap this summer. And some European cities, such as Amsterdam, London and Budapest, are more expensive to get to than others as well.
A less than 1 percent and a 3 percent reduction in summer airfares for U.S. and Europe flights respectively may seem like an insignificant victory for anyone dropping hundreds on a plane ticket. However, thanks to a combination of lower fuel costs, packed planes, and economic woes in Europe, airlines are making a killing. According to the Associated Press, "Airlines at the start of the year paid $2.13 for each gallon of jet fuel, down 30 percent from last year's $3.03, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. With U.S. airlines burning through 42 million gallons of fuel a day, that 90-cent savings adds up quickly: $14.7 billion for the entire year if prices remain at these levels."
Flyers, on the other hand, are just now seeing meager gains from conditions driving airline profits to the sky. What took so long? Blame demand. With sustainably high load factors, airlines aren't about to slash prices out of the goodness of their hearts. Share prices and airfares are up for the airlines. Significant cost cutting will happen when travelers stop booking tickets.
By Caroline Costello
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