Many of you vagabonds, college students, and corporate workers have been waiting to get your tickets for that upcoming vacation are have been shocked by what you’ve found. Long gone are the cheap fares and good deals of last year.

Why are we paying more for the same flight now?

A combination of economic recovery, downfall, and a weak dollar are making a good deal scarce.

  • If You’re Just Realizing Now That Prices Are High, You’re Looking Too Late – This isn’t the time to be looking for a summer vacation package – that was February.
  • Fuel – Airplanes run on kerosene-based commercial grade jet fuel (which is about 115 octane). The increasing price of oil has the same effect on drivers and pilots – increased costs passed on to you. Airlines are becoming more fuel-conscious however and slowing down to save gas.

  • The Post 9/11 Effect – The effects of 9/11 have two immediate cost-raisers. The first is that more people are flying to where passenger levels are now above where they were the week before the terrorist attack. The second is the cost of all of the increased (and many ineffective) security measures we now live with. Dossiers on our travels, RFID passports, and the like all cost travelers more to fly.
  • Shorter Flights – All of those short flights between cities increase convenience but at added cost. More destinations means more airplanes, management costs, and money to the airports. The airlines are now trying to make up for it by charging you for everything.
  • Airline Bankruptcies Frontier, ATA, and Aloha to name a few. The airlines can’t charge you peanuts and expect to stay in business with costs rising as they are. They can’t however charge you for peanuts to stay in business.
  • Mergers and the Bankruptcies – With many of the large airlines merging or trying to, it leaves less competition in the market which equals higher prices as I predicted would happen in 2008.
  • The Weak Dollar – The weaker this currency gets the more it impacts the countries that base their currencies on it. Europe may be more expensive but you can still go to some great places to travel on a weak dollar abroad or in the US.
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Despite the rising prices many of the basic savings principals still apply – book early and save some extra vacation and combine trips. Once you’re there create a simple vacation budget and stick to it.

Finally, not sure to buy now or wait an extra week or two? Check with FareCast first.

[photo by: andraspfaff]