Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gaming This Summer's Airfares

When to buy? What to pay? Which airline exec to strangle?

There are more questions than answers when it comes to finding decent airfares this summer.

Chicago Fares Affordable This Summer?
The fact is nobody really knows the answers because so much depends on the volatile cost of fuel. In general, prices on domestic fares are lowest six weeks before a flight. But that may change if the cost of a barrel of gasoline increases.

And what are the ranges of what one should be paying? Well, there are certain travel experts who only look at airfares, bless 'em. Day and night, they're glued to their search engines watching the numbers pop up and down. And two of these single-minded gurus have come out with their predictions today for how much you should be paying this summer.

They approach the problem differently. Rick Seaney, the CEO of search engine looks at the length of the flight and then gives an estimated cap on how much one should pay on those routes. Here's how his predictions stood in his recent column for USAToday:
  • Flights of Less than 500 miles: Don't pay more than $150 round-trip
  • Flights of 500-1000 miles: Go for anything under $210 round-trip
  • Flights of 1000-1500 miles: Go for anything under $280 round-trip
  • Flights of 1500 or more (domestic only): Anything under $340 is okay
To read all of Seaney's advice, click here

The folks at have also gotten busy, releasing a list today of the cheapest airports one can fly into this summer. They are:
  • Chicago: Average round-trip air $218
  • Orlando: Average round-trip air $236
  • New York: Average round-trip air $238
  • Dallas: Average round-trip air $240
  • Denver: Average round-trip air $243
  • Washington, DC Average round-trip air $244
  • Las Vegas: Average round-trip air $244
  • Kansas City: Average round-trip air $245
  • Fort Lauderdale: Average round-trip air $245
  • Boston: Average round-trip air $247
It goes without saying that these averages are for domestic travel only. Do I also need to mention that some on the list are darn expensive cities (like the Big Apple) so savings on air are likely going to be wiped out by accommodations costs.

Still and all, it's good to have some idea of what others are paying for airfare. 

1 comment:

  1. Great tips on airfare. I just booked a round-trip flight from Chicago O'Hare to LaGuardia for $177. I also read your book "New York City: Spend Less, See More" and wrote about it on my most recent blog post. Thank you for the great NYC advice.