Rising fuels costs are causing the airlines to implement common sense ways to stay in business which may improve air travel.

In recent months, the insanely high price of jet fuel ($3.22 per gallon last week), the credit crunch and the slowing economy have done what regulators and politicians were unable to do: persuade airlines to give up valued landing slots.

As transportation gets more expensive we can all learn from how the airlines have been cutting back to reduce our own travel costs. Paying more for gas can improve your travels too simply by modifying some airline recession tactics.

  • Combine Your Trips – The airlines are not paying as much for extra landing spots and neither should you. Waiting to take two international trips all in the same leg (rather than in two separate installments) will lower your airfare.
  • Slow Down A Bit – Many airlines have been reducing their flying speed slightly to save a lot. Southwest Airlines for example is saving an estimated $42 million this year by shaving off 1-3 minutes per flight. Driving 20 miles over the speed limit gets you places and average of 9% faster but reduces fuel economy by 31-37%.
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  • Carpool – Airlines are cutting out the waste of half-full flights. Save money on rental cars or long legs or road trips by finding a local carpool online at eRideShare.
  • Reduce the Weight – Keep to a single carry-on to avoid baggage surcharges and reduce your own weight to save on food costs.
  • Keep Track of Costs – Create a post-travel budget and record all of your expenses in these 3 categories: travel costs (airfare, fuel, etc.), food, and lodging. Tracking where your money is spend helps you find and reduce frivolous expenditures.

Increasing travel costs will end up making both travelers and airlines looking for creative ways to cuts costs rather than travel grinding to a halt. Any smart traveler will use the basics to save money by being flexible with time, light in luggage, and reducing simple luxuries.

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[photo by: Felipe Morin]