If you’ve traveled by air at all since Spring 2016, you may have noticed that airlines have been reducing the prices of their tickets more and more.
The Transportation Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports the average domestic air fare dropped to $353 in the second quarter down 9.6% from $390 at the same time a year ago.
The second-quarter 2016 fare was down 26.2% from the average fare of $478 in 1999 — the highest inflation-adjusted second quarter average fare in 21 years since BTS began collecting air fare records in 1995.
Though this seems great for travelers of all kinds, it really appears to be a smokescreen, covering the rising costs of these airline’s additional fees. The amount of additional revenue collected from fees charged to passengers has increased by a hefty margin in recent years. U.S. passenger airlines collected just about 75% of their total revenue from passenger fares during the second quarter of 2016, compared to the nearly 88% in 1995.
To note, fares include only the price paid at the time of the ticket purchase, and exclude fees for all optional services, while also not including frequent-flyer miles.
When you go to take off this holiday season, just be careful, and understand what it is you’re going to be paying for. That great deal on the round trip to Cancun can turn into a nightmare if you bring an extra carry-on.