MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you haven’t booked that flight for your summer vacation, you’re likely in for an expensive surprise.

Airfares are high right now and showing no signs of coming down anytime soon. Travel experts say part of the problem is high oil prices, which increase the price of jet fuel and the operating costs of airlines.

Another factor is high demand. They say as long as airlines can fill the seats, the prices will remain high, or even go up.
At Minneapolis-St. Paul international, we talked to some folks about to board planes or who’d just landed.

Jerod Martin was on his way home to Ohio.

“We flew from Columbus to Minneapolis,” he said.

How much was his ticket?

“Around $600,” he said.

Gail Weinholzer is with Triple A Minnesota.

“It used to be maybe a week or two out, you could get some sweet deals, because there’d be some empty seats,” she said. “There aren’t any empty seats anymore, so there is no reason to drop the costs.”

Weinholzer said the higher airfare we’re seeing comes from the changes airlines made after September 11, 2001, and the fact more people have started flying again.

“It’s far more the fact that since 9-11 they’ve gone to fewer routes and smaller planes,” she said.

Stephanie Harpst just flew home to Minneapolis from Salt Lake City, Utah. She said the round-trip flight typically costs her between $400 and $500.

“I think that the airlines used to make quite a bit of money, and then they went through the hard times of losing money, and now they are making gazillions,” she said. “So, I think it is time for moderation.”

So what’s a flier to do?

“The advice I give to folks is that if you have any flexibility, don’t fly on the weekends, fly mid-week,” Weinholzer said. “You’ll get a little bit better rate. If you can be flexible, if you know far ahead enough in advance, go ahead and book it. Typically rates are not going to come down.”

Another way to save some money is to take connecting flights instead of flying non-stop.

It’s not as convenient, but it usually reduces the cost.