Tim Winship asks, Just how cheap are current airfares? Using some data crunching from Travelocity, it turns out that domestic fares are down an average of 6 percent from this time last year. That doesn’t sound like much, but there is wide variance between destinations. Salt Lake City, Chicago, San Francisco, and L.A. all saw fares drop 15 percent or more.
They also saw sizable fare drops internationally, and—good news for Americans and Canadians—some of the biggest sales are going on with flights to Latin America. “Guatemala City flights were 17 percent cheaper; and Belize City flights were down 18 percent.”
I can confirm from my experience that the same thing is happening for Mexico. I couldn’t get a cheap flight to Mexico City from my home airport, so I got a cheap flight to Chicago instead and flew from there to Mexico City on Aeromexico for $292 including taxes. That’s a sweet deal. (A nicer airline than the U.S. ones too I might add, with dinner, a beer, and a movie.)
I just bought open jaw tickets for my family this summer, flying into Guanajuato from our home airport and flying home from Cancun. Those came in around $500 each, which is not a screaming bargain, but not bad considering close to $100 of that is taxes and fees. We’ll get a budget Mexican airline flight for the internal part after arrival.
I’m also seeing good deals, especially on American, for flights to other places in Latin America. The best way to find out about them is to sign up for the deal alerts from your favorite airlines where you are building up miles. Sign up to track routes you might be flying on with Travelocity. You can set it up to alert you when a fare drops below a certain level. SmarterTravel and AirfareWatchdog will send you a weekly e-mail with flight deals from your chosen airport.
Then when it’s time to search, use Vayama.com to compare hundreds of international airfares on one web site., Try BookingWiz also to be sure. To figure out which budget airlines serve a specific route (these often don’t show up in the services just mentioned), use the aptly named WhichBudget.com.
This coming Spring Break is going to be the true test I think. It’s already a buyer’s market for airline tickets, but if flights to the Caribbean and Mexico don’t fill up in that key March to mid-April period, you know there will be bargains galore this summer.