OUTLOOK FOR 2010 AIR FARES
Best resign yourself to paying this year's higher transatlantic airfares. There are a couple of reasons why prices don't figure to go down. First, seat demand is up over '09—more people want to go to Europe. According to the Airline Reporting Corporation, sales through March are 20-percent higher than last year for May and June flights. The big tour operator, Globus, reports a 66-percent increase in Europe bookings so far this year.
The consolidation of transatlantic airlines into three alliances—Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam—has meant coordination of flights, code sharing, and ultimately less competition. Consider, too, that Lufthansa now owns both Swiss Airlines and Austrian Airlines; and Air France merged a few years ago with KLM. On this side of the Atlantic, Continential is trying to merge with United, while Delta and Northwest have already joined forces. To these factors add rising 2010 oil prices and an economic downturn that has forced airlines to reduce the number of flights, and you have a recipe for higher fares. For a quote on consolidator fares to Europe click or call Laura at 800-521-6722 x 2