Study Finds Real Air Costs Up Nearly 30 Percent Since 2008
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