Air travel reached record levels this summer with U.S. airlines carrying an all-time high of 77.9 million domestic and international passengers, according to a Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) estimate.
Crowded flights and long lines aside, the silver lining of an increasing number of travelers is that ticket prices have gotten more budget-friendly in many places.
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In 2018, the average domestic itinerary airfare of $350 was the lowest (adjusted for inflation) annual fare since such records were kept in 1995, down 1.8 percent from the previous low of $356 in 2017.
Translation: Getting around the country has become relatively affordable for the average American.
A new study from CompareCards confirms as much, identifying locations around the country where airfare costs have dropped the most. The same report also identifies locations where prices are on the rise.
Overall, the study found that the average airfare at 81 of the 100 largest airports has decreased.
Long Island MacArthur Airport in Long Island; Syracuse Hancock International and Portland International Airports had the largest decreases in average airfare costs. In each of the three locations, average airfare prices fell by more than 10 percent.
Additional locations in the top 10 for price drops included Jacksonville International (-8.4 percent); Savannah Hilton Head International (-8.0 percent); Albuquerque International Sunport (-7.9 percent); Louisville International (-7.8 percent); Luis Munoz Marin International (Puerto Rico) (-7.6 percent); Richmond International (-7.6 percent); Gerald R. Ford International (Grand Rapids) (-7.4 percent); and Fresno Yosemite International (-7.1 percent.)
But there were some very notable exceptions throughout the country.
Chicago’s Midway airport, for instance, saw the largest uptick in average airfare, increasing by nearly seven percent between 2017 to 2018, while airfare from airlines/chicago-ohare-airport-to-receive-65-million-upgrade.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>Chicago’s O’Hare jumped four percent.
In general, flying out of the largest airports including Dallas/Fort Worth, Ronald Reagan Washington National, LaGuardia and Phoenix Sky Harbor International was costlier in 2018 than 2017, states the report.
International travel, meanwhile, has never been cheaper, particularly flying from the U.S. to Europe or Asia, said Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights.
“We are living in the golden age of cheap flights,” Keyes said.
The full study, including the list of the top 100 airports and their average airfare cost, can be viewed here.
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Delta Air Lines Upgrades Health, Safety Guidelines
As travel restrictions are lifted, Delta Air Lines has implemented a series of health protocols to keep passengers safe as they fly again during the coronavirus outbreak and moving forward.
From the time customers check-in for their flights until they collect their bags at the final destination, Delta officials claim the company’s main focus has shifted to the health and safety of passengers.
In the airport, travelers will notice check-in lobbies, self-service kiosks, gate counters and baggage claim are thoroughly wiped down throughout the day, while electrostatic spraying will take place in the planes and throughout terminals.
In addition, Delta continues to install plexiglass shields at check-in counters, in Delta Sky Clubs and at gate counters throughout the United States. Social distance markers will also be added at all of the airports served by the airline.
Hand sanitizer stations will also become easily accessible throughout the facilities.
“The (travel) experience is a very comfortable, a very safe experience, we have taken actions, even above and beyond what the CDC has recommended to ensure safety,” Delta Chief Customer Experience Officer Bill Lentsch said in a statement.
As for the actual onboard experience, Delta is now boarding passengers back to front and limiting it to 10 customers at a time to minimize your contact with others. The carrier is also blocking middle seats, adjusting capacity numbers and requiring face coverings.
Before passengers board the planes, cleaning crews complete an extensive checklist of procedures using high-grade disinfectant to wipe down personal and common areas of the cabin.
Delta also temporarily streamlined food and beverage offerings to reduce touchpoints, with snack bags given out during the first pass through the cabin by flight attendants.
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