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Travel Tip: Where Airfare is Headed

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>It’s official. With more people wanting to travel and decreasing capacity, the law of supply and demand means that airfare has nowhere to go but up.

In its annual report, the Federal Aviation Administration has predicted that mergers and consolidation will result in even more shrinking routes.And the demand is growing. Airplanes are flying at a whopping 82 percent capacity.

The volume of commercial air travel—which is measured in Revenue Air Passenger Miles–is expected to nearly double in the next two decades, from 815 billion in 2011 to 1.57 trillion in 2032.  We’re talking an average increase of more than 3 percent a year!

In 2011 alone, demand for air travel grew 3.5 percent. So what does that mean for you? In short: higher airfare.

There’s no magic trick to getting around it. Just be vigilant and pay attention to the new rules of the road. The deals that do appear come and go fast, so stay on top of airfare alerts and flash sale sites. And don’t assume all the inventory is listed online. If a great deal crosses your desk, call up a human being to see what else is out there.

For more information, visit the Budget Travel and Airlines & Airports sections.

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