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Airfares have remained flat for 20+ years

Courtesy ShuttleDiscovery, via Wikimedia 

It might not seem like it but base airfares have remained flat (and in some routes have even decreased) for over two decades when adjusted for inflation.  That definitely goes against consumers perceptions that it's costing more to fly.  When recently surveyed by, over 90% of their 2500 respondents felt that airfares had risen.


But note that statement applies only for base airfares.  It does not include the many new fees consumers are paying, such as fees for checked baggage, in-flight food, or a changed flight reservation.  It's very difficult to quantify these costs to an individual consumer because consumers are adapting by checking less bags, bringing their own food onboard, etc.  To the airline industry these fees add up to billions of dollars in annual revenues.


More on this story from FoxNews Travel at this link.





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  • Courtesy ShuttleDiscovery,  via Wikimedia

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"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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Another factor to keep in mind when considering why flying seems more expensive: while the base airfares are flat when you factor in inflation, earnings are not. Over the past 40 years, depending on measure, real wages (what you get when you factor in inflation) have actually eroded a bit, and at points a lot.


Add to which the fact that "wages" as used in those figures includes benefits such as health care, which doesn't translate into spendable income. And add to which many other things compete for the money: TV is no longer free and gas is no longer cheap.


So, it's not just an illusion when people think flying is expensive; relative to their available cash, it often is!

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

I'm with 90% on that survey. Domestic Airline prices did rise steadily from 2009 to 2014 (even adjusting for inflation) according to the DOT.  I do think we've had a        price break this year because of the steep drop in oil prices. I'm not surprised most customers feel like they are paying more because of what they are getting now.  Planes are packed, there's less seat space and a whole array of fees.



If you want a thing done, ask a busy man.

Last edited by Travel Rob
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