First Person: I Can’t Afford Airline Tickets

Yahoo Contributor Network

The price of airfare is just getting silly. I actually dread shopping for plane tickets sometimes, and when there is news of airline mergers I do not hold out hope for better prices. There are certain types of online commerce that can be an interesting experience, and in some cases even entertaining. Given the diversity of the Internet, I find particular types of shopping to be an intriguing challenge. Navigating different sites and searching for optimum prices can be a great way to save money. Unfortunately, searching for affordable airfare is not my favorite task. Traveling places is certainly enjoyable, but looking for transportation can be a tough assignment. In today's marketplace, prices only seem to be getting worse.

Familiar routes

In general, I am not an extensive world traveler. There are certain destinations of mine that have stayed consistent over the years, mostly because there are great reasons to travel there. Unfortunately, my familiarity with these places means that I also know which airlines go there and how many routes are actually available. For example, why is it that non-hubs are so expensive? If I want to go from Los Angeles to Chicago, I might get a reasonable fare. However, I want to go to someplace like Sioux Falls, South Dakota, forget it. There are only so many choices. Shopping around can be a very limited endeavor, and all of my Internet navigation skills can't help me come up with additional money-saving options. All the "tips" and "tricks" of booking travel only help so much. Sometimes there are really no ways to save.=

Alternate modes of transportation

Perhaps our modern society has become a bit spoiled due to air travel. The convenience is difficult to beat. Once you have flown, it is hard to compare a two-hour flight with a 20-hour car or bus ride. Riding the train sounds nice, but I am not about to sit in a seat for 30-plus hours when I can get to my destination with a three-hour flight. Unfortunately, this country does not have extensive mass-transit systems that provide viable financial alternatives for consumers in my situation. Perhaps there will be other choices in the future, but I do not expect that to happen anytime soon. If I want to get certain places, I am at the mercy of the airlines and whatever prices they charge.

Priced out?

I fear that in the future I might be priced out of flying on an airplane, at least to certain destinations. It used to be that you could go from hub to hub for $200-$300. Now, those prices are $400, $500 or even $600, and the travel times are not ideal. Perhaps the only people able to travel will be those that can charge a ticket to their company. The family may have a hard time getting on a plane. Granted, some level of competition will likely keep the prices within reach for the foreseeable future. However, one wonders what might happen if fuel prices continue to climb and consumers must accept the prices that the market offers.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

More from this contributor:

The Effects of Technology in Today's Business World

The Importance of Financial Management Ethics

Qualities of a Good Manager

View Comments