Expect 'sticker shock' when booking holiday flights, professor says

Sep 23, 2008

Record-high fuel prices and new fees added by many air carriers will make the cost of flying home for the holidays significantly higher than last year, says a Purdue University professor.

Dale Oderman, an associate professor of aviation technology, says people looking to book flights now for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons will experience "sticker shock," especially if they haven't tried to book a flight since this time last year.

"Airlines have not only raised their prices due to the cost of fuel, but they also have reduced capacity in order to drive ticket prices up to try to recover their losses," he says. "Also, many are charging for services that were free in the past, such as checked baggage, food and soft drinks. The result is a significant increase in the cost of a flight that many people won't be expecting."

Oderman says that while the airlines aren't trying to hide these additional charges, they don't show up when you book the flight. The baggage fees are paid at the airport, and the food is paid for in-flight. He says that some carriers are charging for all checked bags, but some are charging only for the second checked bag. These costs are usually $25 to $50 per bag per round trip.

Because of the reduced seating, especially during high-demand holiday times, Oderman advises to book now.

"There are still some deals to be had, but not nearly as many as in the past and not during holiday times," he says. "If you can travel at a time other than the holidays, that would be ideal. If not, consumers will have to either pay more or take another mode of transportation."

He recommends checking the Web site Farecast.com, which finds the cheapest fares between cities and also makes airfare predictions for the next seven days. At another Web site, www.airfarewatchdog.com, consumers can register and receive e-mails when there are good deals.

Oderman says even if fuel prices drop, don't expect the added fees to disappear.

"The old image of flying as a luxury experience is gone," he says. "Now it's just a means of getting somewhere, like a bus or a train, with no frills. Instead of like a cruise, flying will be more like taking a ferry."

Provided by Purdue University

Explore further: When it comes to how pizza looks, cheese matters

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mobile apps offer last-minute deals

Jul 08, 2014

While new technology and mobile applications have made old-fashion road trips easier, the thrill of spontaneity and surprise still remains. If travelers are flexible, apps can offer ease with last-minute ...

Is job insecurity becoming the norm for young people?

Feb 18, 2014

In recent years, job insecurity among young people has risen to unsettling proportions. Last year, The Economist reported that as many as 290 million 15-24 year olds were not participating in the labour market—"nearly as lar ...

Recommended for you

When it comes to how pizza looks, cheese matters

Aug 21, 2014

Most consumers have an idea what they want their pizza slice to look like. Golden cheese with that dark toasted-cheese color scattered in distinct blistery patches across the surface with a bit of oil glistening in the valleys. ...

Freedom and responsibility of science

Aug 21, 2014

Yesterday, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences presented their recommendations for "The Freedom and Responsibility of Science" in Berlin. Both research organizations appeal ...

What I learned from debating science with trolls

Aug 20, 2014

I often like to discuss science online and I'm also rather partial to topics that promote lively discussion, such as climate change, crime statistics and (perhaps surprisingly) the big bang. This inevitably ...

Activists urge EU to scrap science advisor job

Aug 19, 2014

Nine major charities urged the European Commission on Tuesday to scrap a science advisor position it says puts too much power over sensitive policy into the hands of one person.

User comments : 0