Here are some major factors affecting travel in the coming year. We recommend planning, booking and ticketing your trips as early as possible to avoid as many of these extra costs as possible. FTI can book seats up to 11 months in advance of travel.
1. Oil Prices Are Rising
In the past year and a half, jet fuel prices increased over 40%, and another oil price spike could trigger a new round of capacity cuts and fare hikes. Did you know that fuel surcharges and taxes on all airlines are locked in as soon as tickets are issued? Ask your Fellowship Travel Agent for more details.
2. Airline consolidation Causing Decreased Competition
Recent airline mergers between Delta/Northwest, Continental/United, AirTran/Southwest and Frontier/Midwest/Republic will affect the industry marketplace. Historically, these types of mergers have led to higher airfares and fewer available seats due to the reduction of flights. On the other hand, more efficient scheduling could increase the profitability of the carriers and bring some price stability. FTI recommends that you book early to have the best selection of itineraries and seat assignments.
3. More Ancillary Fees
According to IdeaWorks, the world’s airlines collected $22.6 billion in ancillary revenues in 2010, with $6.7 billion from U.S. airlines. That’s an increase of 67% from 2009. While some of the increase is from an increase in checked luggage fees, much is actually a result of new fees, like carry-on fees or “fare lock” that allows travelers to hold a seat at a specific price for up to a week for a $5 to $9 fee. We can expect ancillary fees to rise again this year as airlines create new fees or add fees already charged by other airlines.
4. Few Alternatives for Stranded Travelers
Major storms and volcanic eruptions caused several travel disruptions in 2010 and left many air travelers stranded. It’s impossible to know if more air travel disruptions are in store for us this year, but re-accommodating stranded travelers will continue to be a nightmare for those without a responsive travel agency on their side. With fewer empty seats and no spare airplanes, the assistance your FTI agent provides will be essential. And, remember, travel insurance is available.
To keep costs as low as possible, start your trip planning today. Visit www.fellowship.com to book your next trip.
It’s a big world. Get out there!
Your FTI Team