Airfare to rise even higher in 2012
Just when it seems like airline ticket prices can't get any more ridiculous, experts are saying that they will likely rise throughout the new year. Airlines are downsizing their fleets in cost cutting efforts that are forcing customers to compete for less seats. With the economy showing signs of a possible recovery, more passengers are forecasted to be traveling this year, making competition even greater among customers. Mergers, like that of AirTran and Southwest, are also likely to decrease competition between airlines, allowing them to dictate prices for certain routes. Usually when two airlines are on the same route they will keep lowering their prices to be cheaper than their competitors. With only a single airline on that route, they won't have to do this. Volatility in the Middle East is also likely to cause a further increase in already high jet fuel prices since the majority of our oil is imported from there. The increases in air fares won't necessarily be obvious to the average traveler. Airlines are getting very good at hiding their fees in extra services like seat assignments, checked baggage, carry-on's, and extra legroom. Florida based Spirit Airlines has already started charging customers for boarding passes printed by customer service agents at the airport. They also plan to charge for kiosk printed passes beginning this Summer. In some cases, fees can actually cost more than the ticket itself.