With every new year comes a heap of predictions about travel. The most exciting among them for 2017? Airfares so low that it’ll be a breeze to keep our travel resolution — or to make one now.
According to Expedia and Airlines Reporting Corp., airfares fell 5 percent for economy round-trips from 2015 to 2016, and they expect the downward trend to continue. “To put these price drops in perspective, a round-trip ticket that cost $472 in 2015 cost $450 in 2016,” the report reads.
Budget carriers such as Spirit and Frontier have put competitive pressure on legacy airlines, which have dropped prices in response. And international discount airlines are getting approval to fly into the U.S., which should keep prices to Europe in the manageable — or even eye-popping — range. Steve Glenn, an industry analyst and CEO of Executive Travel, predicts airfares as low as $69 to $99 one way.
Part of the low-cost equation, of course, makes some fliers less than happy. The once full-service airlines such as Delta are offering new basic economy fares. That airline’s no-frills fares deprive fliers of advance seat assignments and any chance of an upgrade or itinerary change; fliers also must board with the last group. United and American will begin their own versions of basic economy soon. United will limit carry-on bags, providing no access to overhead bins unless you have a MileagePlus credit card or have attained elite frequent-flier status.
Also, fees continue to pile up. According to Glenn, airfares today make up only about 75 percent of the cost of your travel; fees for everything from seat assignments to checked bags make up the rest.
But let’s get back to daydreaming about cheap flights. Combine one of those with a stronger dollar; the price of the euro has fallen almost 34 percent from its high in 2008, Glenn said. To that, I say buonissimo, fantastisk and bien. See you at the airport.
Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at email@example.com, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.