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What were airline prices really like 20+ years ago?

What were airline prices really like 20+ years ago?

Old Sep 20, 13, 1:19 am
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What were airline prices really like 20+ years ago?

Saw something about deregulation earlier and I got to thinking. I went to college in the early 2000s. I recall waiting at SFO with my dad, for our flight home to PIT after checking out a few colleges. He said something to the effect of "if you'd been born 20(?) years earlier, you wouldn't be able to do this, the flights were so much more expensive". Even then, I was getting flights home during breaks from the Bay area for +/-$200rt on CO or NW. That rarely happens anymore, but were things that much more expensive prior to deregulation? What were typical prices for routes you flew?
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Old Sep 20, 13, 3:22 am
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My first overseas trip in 1994 was MEL - YVR - LAS - LAX - MEL for AUD$1360 in economy with Canadian Airlines.

Last edited by Annalisa12; Sep 20, 13 at 5:23 am Reason: Added a bit
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Old Sep 20, 13, 4:16 am
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I paid about 600$ cdn for Toronto to Mexico City in 1996.
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Old Sep 20, 13, 4:56 am
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What were airline prices really like 20+ years ago?

My first trip paid with my own money was Amsterdam - Bangkok return in 1987 for which I paid 1,700 guilders which is equal to 760 euros. That's about the same as I would pay today. So indeed, relatively to income and general price levels, flying was much more expensive during those days.
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Old Sep 20, 13, 6:26 am
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What were airline prices really like 20+ years ago?

Cheapest fare i had from DEL-SFO-DEL on JAL for $600 in 2009
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Old Sep 20, 13, 9:52 am
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EWR to LGW, 198$ RT in January of 1987 (granted this was on People's Express, in the middle of the winter). I went to the UK several more times over the next few years and RT from the NY area to LGW was usually in the 200-300$ range.

These are USD. When I flew JFK to LHR this past June my flight was around 1600$, over 800$ of which was tax.
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Old Sep 20, 13, 10:08 am
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What were airline prices really like 20+ years ago?

Eastern shuttle LGA-BOS late 70's/early 80's around $21 each way. When NY Air started, got to $19.

Of course, in 1979 I could stay at the Waldorf Astoria for $60 a night.
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Old Sep 20, 13, 10:24 am
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Not quite 20 years ago, I remember paying $496 for a BWI-STT (direct) flight for our honeymoon in 1994.

My parents would fly to Germany from NYC for $700-$1,000 pp in the 80s and 90s.
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Old Sep 20, 13, 10:33 am
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PSA flights within California were in the $19-29 range in the 1970s. However, remember that flights that weren't interstate were exempt from federal price regulations, even before CAB was dismantled.
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Old Sep 20, 13, 10:40 am
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Originally Posted by horse glasses View Post
... What were typical prices for routes you flew?
When I was a kid in the 1960s, round-trip airfare between TPE and HKG was around TWD 6,000 in full Y, which was expensive in those days considering the average wage at the time, and with no B, M, K, L,... airfare buckets available like today. The round-trip fare can be as low as TWD 4,000 including all taxes nowadays. Unbelievable!

During my junior year in college in the late 1970s, a "student budget fare" between IAH and LGW round-trip was around more than USD 300, and the minimum wage was at around USD 2.60/hour. I had to work many hours to save enough money for the USD 300+ airfare and the one-month summer school tuition, room and board in France (I traveled on a Eurail Pass between England and France). What's the cheapest fare available between IAH and LHR now? Crazy.

I remember buying a used car for USD 500 and I felt like I was splurging.

Looking at some of the airfares today, they seem cheap in comparison to 20, 30, 40 years ago.
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Old Sep 20, 13, 10:47 am
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I think the biggest change from 20 years ago is the fact that the "Saturday Stay" requirement is largely gone.

15 years ago I used to fly regularly between Vancouver and Denver.

Purchased 2 or 3 weeks out, with a Saturday stay, the fare was around $600 (in 1998 dollars). Without the Saturday stay the fare was (if memory serves) around $1800.

If you went with a more convoluted route I could sometimes get the fare down to $1200.

Today it doesn't seem to matter...
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Old Sep 20, 13, 10:49 am
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My first ever flight was in 1990, LHR-Australia on QF, and I remember my parents telling me my child's ticket cost 1000 return.
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Old Sep 20, 13, 10:56 am
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Still remember 15 years ago when San Francisco had 3 United offices (Union Square, Embarcadero and Stonestown) and walking in with my parents to check on fares. The upgradeable H fares from SFO-HKG were always $1200-1500 peak season compared to block seats from travel agencies running $900-$1200. Those block seats always ended up in the rear smoking sections too.
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Old Sep 20, 13, 11:01 am
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Originally Posted by gglave View Post
I think the biggest change from 20 years ago is the fact that the "Saturday Stay" requirement is largely gone.

15 years ago I used to fly regularly between Vancouver and Denver.

Purchased 2 or 3 weeks out, with a Saturday stay, the fare was around $600 (in 1998 dollars). Without the Saturday stay the fare was (if memory serves) around $1800.

If you went with a more convoluted route I could sometimes get the fare down to $1200.

Today it doesn't seem to matter...
Yes, I think the Saturday issue is a big change on domestic itins (sometimes to Europe from the US a Saturday stay has a big impact). In the early 2000's (2002-2004) a BOS-SFO mid week roundtrip was >$2000 retail (no corp discount). Even with the discount it was around $1400 for coach.
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Old Sep 20, 13, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by rsqrott View Post
EWR to LGW, 198$ RT in January of 1987 (granted this was on People's Express, in the middle of the winter). I went to the UK several more times over the next few years and RT from the NY area to LGW was usually in the 200-300$ range.

These are USD. When I flew JFK to LHR this past June my flight was around 1600$, over 800$ of which was tax.
"Tax" or "tax and various surcharges that actually go to the carrier"?
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