There will be a number of airfare discounts in 2009, FareCompare.com CEO Rick Seaney predicts, but they won’t be available on all flights. Here’s where to look for the cheap seats.
ABC News: I believe that domestically, 2009 will be the year of the airline ticket sale. Before everyone gets overly excited, let me remind everyone that generally less than 15 per cent of seats on a plane are sold at sale prices. This is because many of these sales will be for off-peak travel days, connecting flights and purchases 14 days or more before departure. Unfortunately, most air travellers (yes, this means all the procrastinators out there) won’t be eligible…
There was a rush to make more seats available in the past few years on these higher-profit flights. But then we saw the Euro drop as the financial crisis hit Europe, so some of these newly available seats are now flying empty, which means they are being discounted.
Then you have to factor in fuel price drops. These price drops can more dramatically change the cost structure of international flights with their newer, more fuel efficient aircraft, and that adds up to good news for passengers.
And there’s more good news: low cost leaders like Southwest and Ryanair have signaled their interest in amassing some trans-border and trans-Atlantic routes, respectively. And if Ryanair does what it says it wants to do, that could change everything. According to Ryanair execs, they just might start flying across the Pond in 2009 for as little as $20, or even less…
There could also be more targeted sales.
Here are some examples: recession sales for winter/spring 2009, seasonal and off-peak sales; discount pricing for Tuesday/Wednesday/Saturday departures and arrivals; sales to Florida during hurricane season; special back-to-school fares for the college crowd; and more off-peak winter travel deals.
Another possibility: watch for destinations with a heavy reliance on tourism to begin subsidizing travel in some manner, just to get the bodies to the resorts and the casinos. This is something we’ve already seen, for example, at tourist-dependent seasonal ski destinations. And notice how the prices at Las Vegas hotels are dropping…
Finally, if the price of oil keeps falling — look for a couple of bright spots. This would include sales to get the word out on new, introductory routes (think Virgin America from Los Angeles/San Francisco to Boston, and Southwest to New York).
And if oil drops lower still — say, below $30 a barrel — watch for some of those now bankrupt airlines to re-emerge or reincarnate themselves, only this time with better business models.
So, yay bankruptcy?
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.