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Holiday air travel 4% more expensive than in 2011, study says

December 03, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • Travelers line up at an airport security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport
Travelers line up at an airport security checkpoint at Los Angeles International… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

Flying for the holidays has gotten a bit more expensive this year.

The average airline ticket for flights departing in the last two weeks of December is $469, a 4% increase over the same period last year, according to ticket sales on Priceline.com, one of the world's largest travel websites.

The increase is not surprising because airfares throughout the year have been about 4% higher than last year, according to Airlines for America, the trade group for the nation's airlines.

But a spokeswoman for the trade group said airline prices have not risen as fast as inflation over the past few years.

"So, air travel is still a good deal," said Jean Medina, a vice president at Airlines for America.

Travel agents suggest you book early because airfares begin to rise dramatically 21 days before your flight.

The average ticket price of $469 is based on bookings made in the last two weeks of November, according to Priceline.com. For holiday travelers who booked a flight in early October, the average price was $430, according to the website.

"For anyone who still has to buy holiday air tickets, the message is simple -- the clock is ticking,” said Brian Ek, a travel expert for Priceline.com.

To get the best deals, the website suggests you book flights to depart December 17, 18, 25, 27 or 31.

Also:

Airlines shrink seats, offer extra legroom for a fee

TSA must improve collecting and analyzing complaints, study says

New ideas for airline fees discussed at local conference

Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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