Peak summer airfares coming down? They kinda had to

George Hobica, May 28, 2011
Fares from Washington DC:

    Summer fares come tumbling down....

    It seems to happen every spring. The airlines jack up fares for peak (as in late June to late August) summer travel dates; consumers say no thanks (they stay home, they drive, they wait), and then fares come down.

    When we checked several weeks ago, it was hard to find any coast-to-coast airfares, or even "medium haul" fares, for peak July travel under $500 round-trip including tax. Many fares, even for less desirable connecting flights, were closer to $600. It's now the Memorial Day weekend and guess what? Fares have come down. They may not be as low as you'd like, but in many cases they're not much higher than for non-peak travel dates. Just goes to show you that you can't listen to airfare prognosticators who scare you into buying now or paying more later.

    Here's what we found in a spot check, using Cheaptickets.com and Southwest.com flexible date searches (full disclosure: Airfarewatchdog.com is an Expedia.com company; Cheaptickets.com is a competitor of Expedia.com; neither Cheaptickets nor Southwest has a monetary relationship with  Airfarewatchdog). And please note these fares are subject to prior sale and change:

    Washington Dulles-San Diego $350 round-trip including tax via JetBlue, depart July 11 returning July 19 and other July dates (some dates over $500)

    Phoenix-Ft. Lauderdale $299 round-trip including tax nonstop via US Air depart July 21 return July 27 and many other July dates

    Los Angeles-Boston $349 round-trip including tax, depart July 4 return July 12 via US Airways

    San Francisco-Ft. Lauderdale $370 rt including tax via AirTran, depart July 11 return July 19 on connecting flights (nonstop flights higher)

    Seattle-Las Vegas $273 round-trip including tax via Alaska Air, depart July 19 return July 28, nonstop flights

    Atlanta-Denver $319 round-trip including tax via Frontier and AirTran nonstop, almost any dates in July

    Colorado Springs-Newark $369 round-trip including tax on Delta, depart July 12 return July 20

    Newark-Las Vegas $279 round-trip including tax via Southwest Airlines, depart July 6 return July 13

    Will international fares also come down? They really need to, because they're sky high. Sign up for alerts on your favorite routes or follow us on Twitter @airfarewatchdog and we'll let you know.

    These fares were researched at 10:40 a.m. Eastern on May 28, 2011 and are subject to change and prior sale.

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