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Air Travel Trends


Study reveals domestic flights are hot, Europe is not

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Study reveals domestic flights are hot, Europe is not
Image via babble.com

Mar 21, 2012

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Fly.com today announced the results of a data study that shows a significant shift in destination preference among travelers flying out of New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston. At the same time, the study identifies dramatic price reductions in the cost of domestic airplane tickets, with flights to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas and Chicago offering the biggest year-on-year price drops. In contrast, some flights to Europe are almost twice as expensive as this time last year.

The study used 1 million Fly.com user searches to identify and compare the top route preferences (from the five origin cities) during Feb. 12 - March 12, 2012, against those searches made during the same period in 2011.

At the core of Fly.com's findings is a clear indication that interest in European destinations has considerably diminished, compared with last year. Instead, U.S. travelers are now setting their sights firmly on domestic destinations, particularly cities in California and Nevada. This is likely due to rising airfare prices for international routes, which are up as much as 70% to cities such as London and Barcelona. In contrast, fares for popular domestic flight routes have fallen by more than 40% in 2012.

The Fly.com study also revealed a 2012 trend for destinations closer to home, with many of the top five flight routes out of New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston involving destinations that were less than a four-hour flight away.

"These are very significant year-on-year changes in traveler preference," said Warren Chang, vice president and general manager, Fly.com. "And it is clear that new low-cost carrier routes, as well as surging oil prices and airline consolidation across the Atlantic, have played an instrumental role in affecting this change."

New York City: Barcelona dropped out of the top five most popular destinations for New Yorkers, as prices surged 31% this year. Moreover, better fares for routes to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas – most likely driven by increased airline competition – has helped drive popularity for Western destinations.

2012 Top 5 Routes
2011-2012 Price Change

1. San Francisco
Down 13%

2. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Down 18%

3. Las Vegas
Down 3%

4. Orlando
Up 16%

5. Miami
Up 8%

2011 Top 5 Routes
2011-2012 Price Change

1. Miami
Up 8%

2. Ft. Lauderdale
Down 10%

3. Barcelona
Up 31%

4. Orlando
Up 16%

5. Los Angeles
Down 14%

San Francisco: New York knocked London off its perch as the most popular destination for Bay Area travelers in 2012. And, with the exception of routes to London and Miami, the most popular San Francisco flight routes in 2011 and 2012 (combined) have all dropped in price. This demonstrates how travelers are benefiting from increased competition among Virgin America, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines as these airlines and others continue to duke it out over the most popular West Coast routes.

2012 Top 5 Routes
2011-2012 Price Change

1. New York
Down 17%

2. Honolulu
Down 15%

3. Las Vegas
Down 12%

4. Los Angeles
Down 2%

5. New Orleans
Down 2%

2011 Top 5 Routes
2011-2012 Price Change

1. London
Up 44%

2. Miami
Up 27%

3. Las Vegas
Down 12%

4. Chicago
Down 31%

5. Honolulu
Down 15%

Chicago: Chicago is the only major metro area with lower prices to Florida. As a result, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale both make the top five route list this year. In addition, new routes from Spirit Airlines to Dallas and Las Vegas offer travelers the biggest cost savings, with as much as 42% fare reductions. No international destination is featured in the top five in 2012.

2012 Top 5 Routes
2011-2012 Price Change

1. Las Vegas
Down 35%

2. New York
Up 7%

3. Orlando
Down 13%

4. Los Angeles
Down 40%

5. Ft. Lauderdale
Down 4%

2011 Top 5 Routes
2011-2012 Price Change

1. Barcelona
Up 11%

2. Orlando
Down 13%

3. San Francisco
Down 33%

4. Las Vegas
Down 35%

5. Dallas
Down 42%

Los Angeles: Airfares to London jumped 44% in 2012, turning Los Angeles travelers off the lure of the Olympic city, while Las Vegas fares dropped as much as 29% thanks to low-cost airline competition. Likewise, a new carrier route to Chicago offers airfare savings of as much as 40%. San Francisco also makes the top five list in 2012.

2012 Top 5 Routes
2011-2012 Price Change

1. Honolulu
Down 18%

2. New York
Down 13%

3. Las Vegas
Down 29%

4. Chicago
Down 40%

5. San Francisco
Down 11%

2011 Top 5 Routes
2011-2012 Price Change

1. London
Up 44%

2. Honolulu
Down 18%

3. New York
Down 13%

4. Miami
Up 5%

5. Las Vegas
Down 29%

Houston: London prices have almost doubled since last year, pushing it far out of the top five. But Houston travelers show their consistent demand for domestic destinations, with three of the 2011 top flight routes also making the 2012 short list.

2012 Top 5 Routes
2011-2012 Price Change

1. Las Vegas
Down 11%

2. New York
Up 19%

3. Los Angeles
Down 29%

4. Orlando
Up 11%

5. San Francisco
Up 12%

2011 Top 5 Routes
2011-2012 Price Change

1. London
Up 71%

2. Las Vegas
Down 11%

3. Los Angeles
Down 29%

4. Denver
Down 26%

5. New York
Up 12%




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