Study Finds Real Air Costs Up Nearly 30 Per­cent Since 2008

Business Traveler (USA) - - IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT -

The aver­age true price of a one-way air ticket has in­creased by nearly 30 per­cent since 2008, ac­cord­ing to a study by air­line con­sul­tants Boyd Group In­ter­na­tional. The re­port shows that the aver­age base one-way fare, in­clud­ing fed­eral fees and taxes, in­creased to $219.50 in the fourth quar­ter of 2012, up 12.5 per­cent from 2008. How­ever, the real cost is up 29.1 per­cent, due to the var­i­ous an­cil­lary fees added on for com­monly-used ser­vices which had pre­vi­ously been in­cluded in the ticket price.

“To­day, the fare is just the down-pay­ment, ”noted Michael Boyd, chair­man of the Colorado-based con­sult­ing firm. “It’s es­ti­mated that an­cil­lary fees for ser­vices such as first-bag check, early board­ing, pre­ferred seat­ing, etc., on aver­age adds ap­prox­i­mately 15 per­cent to the base fare of a one-way trip. ”He added that while an­cil­lary fees are not pop­u­lar, they are more con­sumer-friendly than tra­di­tional across-the-board fare hikes. “Air­lines to­day are prof­itable largely due to the rev­enue streams from th­ese fees.”

The re­port also found that re­cruit­ing a“low-cost ”air­line to an air­port’s ros­ter of car­ri­ers is no cure-all for high fares. In fact, of the ten high­est-fare air­ports, eight have at least one such in­cum­bent car­rier. The re­port ranks the 100 largest air­ports by pas­sen­gers, aver­age ticket prices, and com­par­a­tive cost of air travel charged on a per-mile ba­sis.

In the fourth quar­ter of 2012, Los An­ge­les was the na­tion’s largest pas­sen­ger air­port, with al­most 9.6 mil­lion lo­cal pas­sen­gers. Chicago/ O’Hare and Las Vegas ranked sec­ond and third, re­spec­tively. Air­ports with the high­est cost of air travel in the fourth quar­ter, based on fares paid per mile, in­cluded Dal­las Love, Cincinnati-North­ern Kentucky, Mem­phis, Hous­ton In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal, Cleve­land and Tulsa. BT

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