Cheap airfares: calm before the storm?

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Thursday, February 5, 2009

You've got to wonder at the cheap flights these days. These 'economic crisis' days.

First there was Southwest airlines in the US with fares from 49$, including $99 coast to coast.

Now other airlines around the world are following, with cheap deals. But behind the cheap airfares is another story, a story of falling demand, a substantial drop in people flying, and the reduction of flight frequency. Some routes that aren't profitable, or aren't getting the high capacities are getting culled.

I got three emails today from airlines - all having sales. One has 10% off everything (Qantas). Another cheaper airfares than I've seen for the last dozen years (Cathay Pacific). The third heavily discounted flights.

All airlines are trying to get people to fly more. Fuel prices are down, and so are fuel surcharges. But most countries have had their currency drop against the US dollar. Meaning it is more expensive to go overseas. Add to this, the uncertainty around the future, job losses, etc, and you get a recipe for people to stay at home, keep their heads down, and pay the mortgage. Which may or may not be a good thing for:

the environment;
other people.

But not such a great thing for those invested in tourism.
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