If you are looking for summer airfares to book your next vacation, don’t wait to book your flight – summer airfares for 2012 will be on the rise. Demand for air travel should increase this year so expect full flights and higher prices as a result.
This year, airlines have already tried airfare hikes – four airfare price increases and two of them have succeeded. In January, Delta, American, United, and US Air implemented a $20 hike earlier this year. Southwest made sure it stayed by raising theirs $10 each way.
For vacations, this may mean less airfare deals for summer travel.
The good news for passengers is that airlines must disclose total airfare price, including taxes, with disclosure for any extra fees that may be added as well. So finding the cheapest flight for your summer vacation is now a lot easier since there will be no more confusion about what the total cost of your airline ticket is.
Aside from increased demand for summer airfares, rising fuel prices may also play a factor in higher airfares this summer. Right now, airfares are up nearly 10 percent over last year.
With mergers, less airline capacity, and summer vacations just around the corner, expect the next increase for airfares to come in April or May.
A recent report by the FAA predicts airline passenger travel doubling and higher airfares over the next 20 years. However, FareCompare’s Rick Seaney says there is no need to panic. Prices will increase but customers may see less than a 10% increase.
Find the cheapest flights for 2012 summer airfares
With higher demand for air travel, less capacity, and higher airfare prices, you can expect to pay more for your airline ticket this summer. However, here are some tips to find the best deals for summer airfares.
Shop 3 months out – If you are looking for summer airfares in early June, shop now. Before seats fill up, airlines are willing to offer their best deals to early customers.
Shop for flights on Tuesday – Airlines announce their airfare sales late Monday or early Tuesday and many airlines will scramble to match each other. Early Tuesday afternoon is the best time to shop for airfares due to airfare sales.
Fly midweek – Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest days to fly. Pay attention to the restrictions for many of the airfare sales as you can find the best deals on these days.
Airfare alerts – If you know your destination or when you want to fly, sign up for airfares deal from your departure city. Each airline will send you the latest airfares sales and alerts via email. Other sites like FareCompare and Airfare Watchdog allow you to set up alerts for cities, routes, and/or departure dates so you get the latest updates.
Check airline sites – Not every airline offers their airfares on travel aggregator sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, and others. Southwest Airlines only offers their airfares on their site. American Airlines and JetBlue only offers their airfares to certain aggregators. Search airline sites to see their prices and/or compare to the aggregator sites. Sign up for their airfare alerts.
Travel aggregators – These are the popular booking sites for travel like Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak, etc. Bing Travel has a price predictor for certain routes which tells you whether to wait or buy. Kayak and Hipmunk are two of the best aggregator sites out there as they check a number of airlines and often find the best deals.
Check the flight’s capacity – If you are looking to book a flight, check to see how full the flight is (see which seats are available). If there are still a lot of seats left three months before departure, airfares may hold steady or drop. If the flight is nearly full, book now.
Look for one seat – Even if you are flying with more than one person, searching for two seats will give you the lowest seat price for two seats together. Looking for one seat will give you the cheapest seat available. Note that this may mean splitting up your party (which may not be worth the savings to you).
As airfares increase for summer travel, make sure you know all the secrets to finding the cheapest flight for your summer vacation.
Will you fly this summer? What tips do you have for finding the best airfare deal?