There’s one thing that this country’s economy where the dropping price of oil hasn’t yet been felt: plane tickets. Jet fuel—which used to be a good reason why for a good portion of airlines’ expenses—currently costs about a third of what it did two years ago. Ticket prices have been reducing much quicker, falling roughly 3 percent per quarter over the last year.
A change of that position immensely improves airlines’ standards Last year the four biggest U.S. carriers—American, Southwest, Delta, and United--brought in $22 billion in profits.
It’s not surprising that airlines would not lose the gains they’ve seen from all those fuel savings, but, seriously, they haven’t been lowering ticket prices very much, which would be a natural way to start trying to steal customers from one another.
Even some surcharges that were charged when times were tighter—charging customers for sitting in aisle or window seats, for instance--remain in place. Cruelly, even fees that were originally thought to cover fuel costs have stuck around, even if they now go by different names. So why isn’t a bigger chunk of these savings being passed onto travelers? This sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen—there’s supposed to be at least one company that’s willing to lower its prices and steal away its competition’s customers.
That is why flying is so expensive.
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