Airlines Increase Airfare for the Holiday Despite Record Profits
If you're one of the millions of people planning to travel for the holidays, expect higher prices from the nation's top airlines.
A stronger economy and falling gas prices have helped airlines bounce back from a slump that started with the Sept. 11 attacks. Those savings, however, won't get passed on to travelers.
A study by travel-planning website Expedia.com showed Thanksgiving fares are up 17 percent from last year for an average price of $467. Christmas airfares are up only slightly at 2 percent for an average of $493. Expedia competitor Orbitz.com estimates that average fairs to the top 10 destinations for holiday travelers are up 3 percent.
After the study was completed, six of the largest airlines announced a $4 fare increase following Jet Blue's announcement last week. The increases come as airlines are reporting record profits thanks to declining gas prices and a rebounding economy. Airlines say they are using the profits for new planes, expanded service and in some cases, employee profit sharing programs.
Customers, on the other hand, say they are paying more for seats that are getting smaller and planes that are more crowded. Fliers are also paying more onboard fees.