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Old 01-01-2012, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
588 posts, read 1,017,510 times
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Default Are Flight Prices In Northern Virginia Increasing Across-the-Board?

I've flown from Atlanta into DCA for at least once a month over the past year and a half. I've also done a few ATL to Dulles flights; and monitor prices a bit on DC flights to a few other cities, as well. So you could say, I'm very in tuned to how much airline tickets cost. I'm also price-sensitive and tend to be frugal by nature.

I've noticed over the past few months, there seem to be less cheap flights available to DCA and Dulles. By "cheap", I'm talking about flights priced around $100 or less. 6 months ago, getting an ATL to DCA flight for under $100 wasn't that difficult, so long as you were somewhat flexible. Now, it seems almost impossible. Meanwhile, oil prices haven't actually changed all that dramatically; in fact, they've gone down a slight bit. In fact, the increases are quite dramatic: I could find flight tickets for $90 a few months ago; now, everything is up to about $150 (over a 60% increase!)

Theses increases don't seem limited to DCA, as Dulles price patterns seem very similar. The only alternative for cheaper flight now seems to be BWI, which is very inconvenient to Northern Virginia, as most of you know.

I'm curious --- for those of you who fly frequently either to or from DCA or Dulles --- have you noticed a recent and significant increase in flight prices? Have you noticed a lesser availability of cheap / discount flights?

This might be limited to the routes I tend to travel, but I'd like to learn whether it's part of a broader trend of higher DC fares. (Since ATL to BWI still seems to be cheap, I assume the price increases are more DC-based rather than Atlanta-based.)
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Old 01-01-2012, 04:07 PM
 
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I don't fly that much, but the flight I have taken in the past @ usually $200 or less, nonstop from DCA to a midwestern city, now is over $350. I chalked it up to holiday travel price jumps, but it could be part of a larger trend.
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Old 01-01-2012, 04:12 PM
 
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In general, flights from BWI are cheaper than DCA and IAD because Southwest has a hub at BWI, plus Airtran and Jetblue have a presence there as well, although with Southwest merging with Airtran soon, maybe this will change.
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Old 01-01-2012, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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Interesting that there haven't been any new start-ups in the airline industry in years. Like just about every other industry, it's evolved into an oligopoly where the major players have gobbled up or driven out all the other players, monopolized gates and can now reduce capacity and raise fares without fear of competition. It might be time for the govt. to get involved again and start a new wave of "de-regulation", this time targeted at market concentration.
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:08 PM
 
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Airline fares generally have been rising strongly since suffering a precipitous roughly 15% decline associated with the depths of the Great Bush Recession. Recent data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics show that increases for flights originating out of Hartsfield and Dulles have been slightly above the national average while well below that for flights originating out of National. Data are through 2011-Q2 only however, so those including your most recent experiences wouldn't be reflected yet.
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:12 PM
 
19,178 posts, read 19,642,039 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
It might be time for the govt. to get involved again and start a new wave of "de-regulation", this time targeted at market concentration.
Deregulation is always touted as leading to more competition, but what it nearly always in fact produces is more concentration. The airlines are just one of many examples.
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACWhite View Post
I don't fly that much, but the flight I have taken in the past @ usually $200 or less, nonstop from DCA to a midwestern city, now is over $350. I chalked it up to holiday travel price jumps, but it could be part of a larger trend.
See ... I thought it might be that, too, at first ... except prices into late January and February have all gone up, too.
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:18 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
588 posts, read 1,017,510 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jtrain12 View Post
In general, flights from BWI are cheaper than DCA and IAD because Southwest has a hub at BWI, plus Airtran and Jetblue have a presence there as well, although with Southwest merging with Airtran soon, maybe this will change.
JetBlue and Airtran are at IAD and DCA, as well. In fact, I normally fly AirTran, since it and Delta are the two carriers that use Atlanta as a major hub.

Spirit is at DCA, too (not sure about Dulles).
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:20 PM
 
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I generally fly Southwest from BWI to GSP (Greenville, SC) because Dulles is so expensive. My flights are $59 each way.

Every time I look into flying from Dulles to Greenville or Charlotte its usually $159+ each way.
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:31 PM
 
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Only one airport in Atlanta--that may be the problem. Look at Orlando--very cheap, and you could fly to Tampa. Get a SWA Visa card. I'm enjoying my second free flight in 2 years with them. I had to fly Christmas Eve and it was pleasant. Family holidays can be a horrible time to travel.
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