Why airline tickets cost so much these days


The ticket itself is still really cheap. It’s all the taxes and security fees added to the ticket. My last trip to Europe, which was this summer, the ticket was $600, and the taxes and airport fees etc. were close to $900.

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While it sucks paying more, on a global basis carriers run on margins +/- 1%, which has led to the spate of bankruptcies and subsequent consolidation. In this case deregulation has been wonderful and driven costs down near the minimum. Even with the recent fare raises it’s likely to stay there. The oil producers are getting a lot richer than the airlines.


I think it’s odd he cast the conversation in terms of justice. Should we think of air travel as a right, of which evil airlines are depriving us? I’ve always thought of it as a business transaction, and it’s a ripoff and an exercise in humiliation, and next time I fly there better be a million dollars waiting for me. But I’ve never seen it as a matter of justice, like jobs or voting or race.


The (original) article barely mentions it, but the price of oil has got to be the main factor. Until about 2003, oil prices had been under about $30 a barrel for decades. After 2009, oil prices have largely been above $80 (and they’re going to stay there and trend higher because the new oil we’re relying on is so much more expensive to produce). That’s a three- to four-fold increase. It’s a wonder airline ticket prices haven’t gone HIGHER!

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Average airfare in real dollars has decreased every year for 30 years, from about $600 (2012 dollars) per ticket to about $350 today. At the same time, distance traveled has increased, jet fuel price has nearly tripled, and access to travel has improved (more tickets sold). Airlines operate on razor thin margins and prices continue to be driven lower by low cost carriers like Southwest and JetBlue gaining market share. The question is why airline tickets don’t cost so much these days.
Ticket Prices: http://www.airlines.org/Pages/Annual-Round-Trip-Fares-and-Fees-Domestic.aspx


I look at it in a similar way. I’d like my air travel at a reasonable price, but I’m not looking for rock bottom cutting all corners pricing. I’m choosing to lock myself into a several hundred ton paper weight that hopefully doesn’t have anything go mechanically wrong with it while I’m thousands of feet in the air. The people who maintain and fly these machines need to be paid appropriately.


I don’t think the ticket price is 100% pilot salary. In fact, I’m willing to bet some of it goes right to shareholders. The same place the bailout money goes, when every 4-6 years another airline needs bailing out.

My solution is to just take a couple extra days of vacation and drive. No baggage restrictions, more leg room, and I get to see the world up close!

For us average joes that actually have to worry about the cost of airfare, plane trips should probably be reserved for emergencies or trans-continental travel.

Like everything else, when people get used to paying low prices and getting handouts, they get upset when the game changes. The airline industry doesn’t get together to discuss how to rip off the American public. They do cooperate because they need to remain competitive. One airline’s erratic behavior could torpedo the whole industry which doesn’t help out the first airline’s business. Southwest, while they run a very efficient company, prices their tickets in relative proximity to the major carriers. They aren’t cutting you that great of a deal. Fuel is much more expensive than it used to be, planes are smaller, and the industry overall is a lot more efficient. But they have more overhead to cover now than they ever have.

that’s all well and good for short distances, but not if your destination is on the other side of an ocean and/or continent(s).

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So, if air travel has become so “expensive”, why is it that I haven’t been on more than one or two less than 100% full aircraft in the past year? (that’s 50 or more flights for me). I’ll tell you why: The price of a ticket is about right, from the “what the market will bear” perspective.


I travel a lot and I would gladly pay more for my ticket if I could get back even slightly better service in return.

The anger expressed these days is not just because ticket prices are going up - it’s that they are going up while at the same time service continues to sink into the sewer - tiny “regional” jets on longer routes previously served by bigger planes; passengers packed in like sardines with horrible, terrible service - surly flight attendants, rude gate agents, no meals, no pillows or blankets anymore, outrageous baggage fees; The list goes on and on and on…


Because they’ve steadily been reducing the amount of flights and destinations served. This was mentioned in the linked article too.


What’s this “vacation days” you speak of? Some of us don’t get paid if we don’t work.

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And some of us DO get paid if we don’t work, and have 15 or 20 days we can take off in a year, only, we’re not allowed to take off more than 3 in a row. 4 if you’re lucky. 5 if it’s one week during the quietest week in the year. But you’ll be expected to roll over 5 to 7 days.

Security theatre doesn’t come cheap.

And they still can’t be counted on to not lose your luggage, even when it’s clearly marked. They almost lost one of my two cases last time I traveled - only reason I managed to keep it during a layover was because I happened to see it rolling past on a conveyor, pointed out that it was mine, then had to prove it was mine because while my name was on it, and my boarding pass said i had two pieces of checked bags, their computer was insisting there was only the one.

Do we want cheap flights, or do we want crunchy apples and a future?

You can bust your balls minimising CO2 for years, and that all goes out the window if you hop on a plane.

I offset my flying. In fact, I offset everything of mine.

Except breathing. Because I just thought of that now.