Yeah, yeah, I know, doom and gloom economy, your 401k’s taken a hit, your house isn’t worth as much anymore, your friends are getting laid off…blah blah blah. We’re all there. Luckily for those of us dreaming about escaping all of this through around the world travel, the airlines are there as well.
While some of them have had to cut back on routes, and can’t lower their prices because they hedged their oil futures at $150/barrel, others have seriously slashed pricing and fuel surcharges to try to increase their passenger load. This is excellent news for savvy travelers. In the last month we’ve seen a decrease in rates and fuel surcharges, but it’s hard for us to tell how long it’s going to last. Obviously it will depend on how the price of oil changes, but the airlines’ fiscal year ends with the first quarter, which is when they release new fares for the following year. Knowing that, we’d recommend that you buy your tickets for travel in 2009 as soon as possible, because it’s hard for us to know how they’ll restructure their pricing. We saw that 2008 was a terrible year for the airlines, and with our 20+ years of experience in the airline industry, we know that they’re not going to be able to maintain these low prices for very long and keep flying.
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Taking all of this into account, if you’re thinking of traveling in 2009, we’d advise you to lock in your tickets now while these low fares are available. Availability at the lowest fares is always limited, and especially if you’re thinking of departing this summer, don’t leave it too late. While everyone else is hemming and hawing and wondering if they should wait to see if the airlines start giving tickets away for free, you can lock in a great fare for your tickets now, and be sitting pretty while the other guys are shelling out hundreds of dollars more later on this year when the economic upturn we’ve all been waiting for comes to pass. Booking accommodations and tours ahead of the curve will also help your bottom line, as we’ve seen incredibly great deals out there lately for that as well.
There’s no way to know exactly what the future holds, but we do know the fares we see now are pretty amazing compared to last January. You’ve seen the crazy sales all the retail stores are having now – consider this the airlines’ version. The silver lining on the recession, if you will. So seriously, stop thinking negative, and start thinking…Fiji! Bali! Thailand! India!