Posts Tagged ‘air fares’

Holiday Fares, Direct Destinations to be lower at Hopkins This Year

October 24, 2020

Holiday season air fares from Cleveland Hopkins Airport are expected to be lower but the number of non-stop destinations will be nearly half as many as there were last year.

A travel industry consultant told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland that the average air fare from Hopkins for the Thanksgiving travel season will be $148 roundtrip while the average fare during the Christmas travel season is projected to be $173 roundtrip.

Those figures do not include fees for such things as checked baggage.

Those projections are 45 percent lower than the average fare last year for Thanksgiving travel and 48 percent less than last year for Christmas season travel.

Nationwide, the average fares for Thanksgiving and Christmas travel are expected to be $172 and $222 roundtrip respectively, which are 41 percent and 40 percent lower than 2019 averages.

The consultant told the newspaper that fares are lower this year because airlines are trying to lure back passengers who stopped traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fares are unlikely to change much between now and the holiday travel seasons, the consultant said.

Based on schedules for November already posted by the eight carriers serving Hopkins, there will be 29 nonstop destinations next month compared with 42 in November 2019.

Among the missing destinations are Washington Reagan National, New York Kennedy, Milwaukee, West Palm Beach (Florida), Salt Lake City, Austin (Texas), and Charleston (South Carolina).

United Airlines plans to end service next month between Cleveland and San Francisco, but has announced it will add flights to the Florida cities of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Orlando.

It will also launch service to Cancun in Mexico. JetBlue has also launched new service between Cleveland and Fort Myers to supplement its existing flights to Fort Lauderdale.

Hopkins had 4,018 commercial flights in November 2019 but expects to see 2.099 this November.

Seven of the eight airlines serving Cleveland have one or more suspended destinations that they served in November 2019.

A ninth carrier, an Air Canada partner carrier, has yet to resume service to Toronto.

The most recent figures available from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics show Hopkins handled 315,149 passengers in August, a decline of 66 percent from August 2019. Nationwide, air travel was down 70 percent in August.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 1 million travelers on Oct. 18, the first time its daily screenings topped the million mark since last March.

However, those 1 million passengers screened was still 60 percent how many passed through security checkpoints nationwide on the same date a year ago.

Hopkins Led Nation in Falling Air Fares

June 9, 2016

Between 2013 and 2015 the average air fare at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport has fallen more than 20 percent, which is the largest decrease in fares at any U.S. airport.

Fares to some destinations from Cleveland fell more than 40 percent, but the cost of flying to some cities either stayed about the same or showed a slight increase.

Cleveland HopkinsCleveland led such cities as Cincinnati and Memphis where the average fare fell by 16.4 percent and 12.4 percent respectively.

What all three cities have in common is that they were once major hubs for a legacy airline that later decided to dramatically downsize hub operations in those cities.

In the case of Cleveland Hopkins, it was a hub for Continental Airlines and, later, United Airlines after those two carriers merged in October 2010. United closed its Cleveland hub in 2014 although it still is among the leading airlines out of Hopkins in number of flights and non-stop destinations.

Cincinnati was once a hub for Delta Air Lines while Memphis was a hub for Northwest Airlines, which merged with Delta on Jan. 31, 2010.

In 2013, the average fare from Cleveland Hopkins was $458.09. In 2015 it was $360.96.

The largest fare declines were to Boston, $299 to $178 (40 percent); Dallas-Fort Worth, $325 to $182 (44 percent); Fort Lauderdale, Florida, $271 to $146 (46 percent); Fort Myers, Florida, $260 to $147 (43 percent); Las Vegas, $280 to $150 (43 percent); Orlando, Florida, $213 to $123 (42 percent) and Tampa, Florida, $227 to $127 (44 percent).

At the same time fares to such business centers as Chicago (O’Hare), Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York (Kennedy) and Washington (Reagan National) posted only small declines or slight increases.

Travelers to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, thought, saw their average fare rise by 21 percent from $224 to $269.

The figures were compiled by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The figures are based on base air fare and exclude the various add-on charges and fees that airlines charge for such things as checked luggage, seat assignments and priority boarding.

For most travelers, the base fare is far from the final cost of making a trip by air.

The Bureau noted that low fuel prices played a role in depressing air fares nationwide. But the vagaries of the marketplace have also acted to drive fares down, up or keep them about the same.

“We have arguably lower fares to some cities than we ever have had in the history of the airport,” Todd Payne, chief of marketing and air service development at Cleveland Hopkins, told The Plain Dealer. “Sometimes I joke with my wife, ‘We can go to dinner or we can go to Orlando.’ ”

When United closed its Cleveland hub, it ended 39 non-stop destinations from Hopkins. Service to some of those cities has since been reinstated by other carriers, including low-fare carriers Spirit and Frontier, and business traveler favorite Jet Blue.

In particular, a Plain Dealer analysis found, leisure travelers benefited the most from the churn in air carriers and services at Hopkins with fares to popular vacation destinations falling the farthest.

Competition is another significant factor in tumbling air fares. All of the routes that have seen their average base fare fall by 40 or more feature competition from two or more carriers.

In many instances, the competition is a low-fare carrier such as Spirit or Frontier.

Both of those carriers fly to Orlando as does United. Southwest and Delta have also offered occasional service between Cleveland and Orlando.

Las Vegas once had four carriers vying for passengers out of Hopkins, but United pulled out of that market last month, saying it was “no longer sustainable.”

The Plain Dealer analysis said United left the market because it could no longer price fares as much as it desired.

But there are three carriers flying between Cleveland and New York and fares on those routes have remained largely unchanged.

Billy Sanez, the vice president of marketing for FareCompare, a Dallas-based travel-planning website that tracks airfare, told the Plain Dealer that is because, in part, the New York area airports are so congested that low-fare carriers cannot turn their planes around at LaGuardia, Kennedy or Newark Liberty as quickly as they would like to in order to operate them efficiently.

“The airlines can get away with that price,” he said. “You may hear, ‘It’s too high,’ But people are still buying it. There’s high demand.”

Nonetheless, that demand has led some to believe that it is just a matter of time before a low-cost carrier enters the Cleveland-New York market and brings prices down.