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Summer airfares set to soar higher

April 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Just in time for summer, air fares are set to fly higher-- some soaring as much as 15 percent over last year's fares. But there are still deals, if you know where to look.

Even when oil hit a record $146 a barrel in 2008, airlines didn't increase their airfares or add surcharges as much as they did this year when oil is $40 a barrel less.

Tom Parsons of BestFares.com said it's only the beginning of higher airfares.

"Especially for the peak travel period between about June 15 through about Aug. 24, I would suspect they're going to try to get more money out of this," said Parsons.

One of the cheapest years ever for spring and summer air travel was 2009, but this year is taking off toward the highest.

In 2009, roundtrip flights from Los Angeles to New York was $392, now it's $528. Los Angeles to San Francisco was $119, now it's $178. A trip to London is even worse. A roundtrip ticket was $509, now it's $939.

As much as all this sounds like doom and gloom for air travelers, Parsons said there are some ways to still save.

  • Be patient and flexible with dates.
  • Plan to travel before or after summer.
  • Travel with a carryon bag, that way you don't have to pay for baggage fees.
  • Schedule travel on weekdays.
  • Book flights on Tuesday after 2 p.m., because 80 percent of airfare sales start on Tuesday, Parsons said.