After months of rising ticket
prices, United Airlines has kicked off a fare war among US airlines
cutting hundreds of leisure ticket prices and prompting other
carriers to do much the same.
Unrestricted fares remain the same but advanced tickets are
dropping in price. Mond you, this is happening after six turbulent
months of record fare increases. In the first half of this year,
the cost of air travel has risen more than eleven percent. Flights
are more crowded as well. Even though the number of passengers
remains about the same as this time last year, airlines are flying
fewer planes and flights are much more full than they were even a
Seat occupancy now stands at a record 85.8 percent.
Is this fare war a sign of a weakening market? United says no,
but some experts disagree. Ricky Seaney, CEO of the website
FareCompare.com, tells CNN passengers are getting a little cranky
about rising prices and fuller flights. Other experts point out
that after losing 42-billion dollars since 9/11, the airlines are
just now starting to see profitability again.
Now, with expectations of a slowing economy and a continued rise
in fuel prices, the airlines are worried that they might once again
slide below the bottom line.