Crazy prices for tickets

Old Aug 20, 2023, 12:07 pm
  #1  
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Crazy prices for tickets

Looking for flights for my annual trip from the US to EU in February/March. Last year, I managed to snag a ticket in premium economy (return) for around $1300-$1400. Economy were about $600-700 return.

Looking at next year, same points of departure and points of arrival, the ticket prices are crazy high. Economy are $1000-$1100, and premium economy $2200.

When can I expect the prices to drop?
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Old Aug 20, 2023, 2:34 pm
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Originally Posted by smartytravel
Looking for flights for my annual trip from the US to EU in February/March. Last year, I managed to snag a ticket in premium economy (return) for around $1300-$1400. Economy were about $600-700 return.

Looking at next year, same points of departure and points of arrival, the ticket prices are crazy high. Economy are $1000-$1100, and premium economy $2200.

When can I expect the prices to drop?
When/if AF has trouble filling up cabins again.

Not sure about the EU/USA route that I don't fly often, but for the EU/Asia routes such as BKK or HKG, we are starting to see prices going down to +30%/+50% compared to pre-Covid instead of the +100% that were introduced in April/May 2023, for NOV23 / JAN24 FEB24 MAR24 trips.

In July it was on a few select dates that looked like "error fares", now they are available for a few days per month.

Current prices might not survive another EU/US economic downturn... but playing the "wait and see" game is risky. So the best strategy is up to your budget/risk tolerance/crystal ball.
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Old Aug 21, 2023, 1:16 am
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Demand is high, so prices are high. When can we expect demand to slump? Not anytime soon by economic indicators.
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Old Aug 21, 2023, 3:53 am
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Originally Posted by maalloc
but for the EU/Asia routes such as BKK or HKG, we are starting to see prices going down to +30%/+50% compared to pre-Covid instead of the +100% that were introduced in April/May 2023, for NOV23 / JAN24 FEB24 MAR24 trips.
i can confirm this. Wanted to buy J to Asia (Shanghai / BKK / SGP /KL) for a November trip. Everything was double pre-Covid until July when I found some options at more affordable rates. Specifically with layover (e.g Paris on way back) led to almost pre-covid prices.

I personally love booking well ahead so am willing to pay a bit more to have certainty.
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Old Aug 21, 2023, 6:52 am
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This is how I've heard it from KLM personnel (and BA was in much the same situation):
Last year they had more initial availability, but were understaffed.
As a result they cancelled many flights at short notice (short haul Europe mostly, and left many passengers inconvenienced and angry).
Eventually they negotiated deals with airports where they could cut their schedules to more manageable numbers, without losing their coveted slots at hub airports.
So they did that, resulting in fewer flights, which were fuller, and so able to charge higher prices with no need to discount.

If all that's true, then it will take a while before all this works through the system and things are back ti something like they were before.
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Old Aug 21, 2023, 11:43 am
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You can't expect. You can hope.
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Old Aug 21, 2023, 12:52 pm
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Originally Posted by malbik
You can't expect. You can hope.
LOL, maybe! But it's not like they added so many services/benefits to warrant so much more YoY.

In fact, I feel like the tickets should be less expensive, given how much they trimmed in service/quality.
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Old Aug 21, 2023, 1:46 pm
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The price is determined by what people are willing to pay, and the ceiling may not have been reached yet.
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Old Aug 21, 2023, 1:57 pm
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Well, Ryanair's CEO did mention his concern for end-of-year pricing power while announcing 2Q2023 results.

Add this to the silent price drop on some AF routes, and the endless price hikes might be behind us. Given how volatile the industry is, I wouldn't even be surprised to see prices crashing down to 2019 levels at some point.

That's neither an advice nor a forecast, of course, but I'm putting money where my mouth is and not booking 2024 tickets just yet.

Last edited by maalloc; Aug 21, 2023 at 2:07 pm
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Old Aug 21, 2023, 2:53 pm
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I would wait for the prices to drop. I would never book a KL February ticket at that price 6 months or more in advance..
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Old Aug 22, 2023, 12:48 am
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Originally Posted by erik123
I would wait for the prices to drop. I would never book a KL February ticket at that price 6 months or more in advance..
Agree. So far ahead you only book if things look like a bargain. Waiting till 2-3 months out is what I would do in case of seeing exorbitant prices now.
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Old Aug 22, 2023, 3:40 am
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Originally Posted by smartytravel
When can I expect the prices to drop?
I think prices will remain elevated for some time.

Pent-up demand for US domestic flights is behind us and prices have dropped considerably. Domestic is the segment for which consumer confidence rebounded first. My obvious point is that long haul is a segment which should be sharply separated from domestic. And you still got pent-up demand for long-haul flying.

I expect that to continue at least until the end of the year (if not longer up to and including summer 2024).
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Old Aug 22, 2023, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by maalloc
Well, Ryanair's CEO did mention his concern for end-of-year pricing power while announcing 2Q2023 results.

Add this to the silent price drop on some AF routes, and the endless price hikes might be behind us. Given how volatile the industry is, I wouldn't even be surprised to see prices crashing down to 2019 levels at some point.

That's neither an advice nor a forecast, of course, but I'm putting money where my mouth is and not booking 2024 tickets just yet.
The broad trend seems to be that short haul prices are headed down, but there's not really a sign of long haul prices going down. The capacity loss has overall been much greater on long haul (on net relative to 2019, the industry has replaced 747s and 380s with 787s and even 321s and also, effectively, replaced some Y seats with W seats) than short haul.
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Old Aug 22, 2023, 11:30 am
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Originally Posted by hhdl
The broad trend seems to be that short haul prices are headed down
I wish I had noticed that trend!! It hasn't shown up on my radar just yet.
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Old Aug 23, 2023, 1:32 am
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That generally holds in the US as well, but all long haul travel is going to be impacted for a long time with the long tail of Covid changes: equipment downgrades, smaller fleets, (much) larger trip appetite from people and years worth of pent up miles and points.
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