Throughout the past year, you’ve been saving meticulously for that ideal vacation you planned for this summer. But now all your calculations are likely to go wrong, thanks to rising fuel prices. As crude oil touches the $100 mark, numerous airlines are announcing fare hikes to meet the escalating cost of jet fuel (which, by the way, constitutes one third of their total operating cost).
In the US, Continental and United have already added $20 per round trip for most domestic flights, while in Australia, Qantas has announced a similar raise after Virgin Blue raised fuel surcharges for V Australia flights to the US. Likewise, American, Delta, and US Airways have also come up with new fares. While business travellers – who in such scenarios invariably have to suffer the most – have to shell out about $60 extra for a domestic round trip, economy class passengers on the other hand are expected to pay about $5-$12 more. Similar increases in other parts of the world are affecting travellers and their respective travel plans.
But fare hikes aren’t the only means through which airlines are passing the cost to the consumer. Raising baggage fee and charging travellers more for peak hours and peak periods are some other methods airlines are resorting to in order to make ends meet. Virgin Blue, for example recently almost doubled its baggage fee. Qantas followed suit. Moreover, it is expected that companies will inevitably have to cut some of their non-fuel costs to compensate for the rise. I’m assuming this would mean fewer in-flight or off-flight services.
As airlines continue to search for newer, more “innovative”, methods of passing the cost to the consumer, the cost of air travel is expected to break all records in the near future. You’ll not only have to pay more for your air ticket, but you’ll also have to pay for some services that earlier did not require payment. So if at all you’re planning to travel by air this summer, and assuming that oil prices continue to go up, you’ll have to shell out some major cash. And the repercussions would obviously not be limited to the airlines that you travel in or plan to travel in. Wherever you go, you will have to pay more for just about everything. It’s time, then, for some last minute savings!