Local

Good Question: Why Aren’t Airfare Rates Fixed?

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The sub-zero temperatures have some people looking to get out of town for a bit.

And there’s a good chance the airfare they pay now could vary by hundreds of dollars in just a month from now.

Travel expert Terry Trippler, of ThePlaneRules.com, says there are several variables that cause airfare to go “up and down,” and make a fixed rate nearly impossible.

“Number one … airports pay different landing fees at different airports,” Trippler said. “Different landing and take-off fees.”

Airlines also have to factor in the cost the flight attendant crew, liquor and food. And a ticket can become more or less expensive based on the cost of fuel.

They’re all pricing factors that vary from destination to destination.

“It’s just like ‘Why isn’t the McDonald’s price at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport the same as the one in Honolulu?’” Trippler said.

Booking your ticket closer to take-off means you’ll likely pay more because the seats the airline sells for cheaper are already gone. The size of the flight also matters when it comes to airfare.

But even booking early and saving money doesn’t guarantee you’ll leave on time.

Trippler said that sometimes you’ll sit near someone on a plane who has paid way more or way less than you did.

Again, he said that comes down to when you book.

A lot of airlines offer up their cheap seats first, and when they sell out he says they try and sell another section of seats at a more expensive price.

Conversely, if a flight isn’t selling well, you may see more of the cheaper seats become available.

As far as this American Airlines/U.S. Airways merger, Trippler thinks it’ll be a good thing for travelers.

“Cheaper tickets, more options,” he said. “And maybe what you’ll see now is maybe Southwest tie into Delta so you’ll connect internationally to Delta very easily.”

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