by Jill Robinson at Greenheart Travel
I did a double take yesterday when I came across a plane ticket to Boston for $9, roundtrip from Chicago. There was no way that it could be correct. Taking a closer look I was right, you had to be a member of Spirit’s $9 Fare Club, and those not in the club, would have to pay $18. Earlier that morning I had paid a little over half that amount on a coffee, bagel with cream cheese and roundtrip train ticket to work. To think I could have spent a few dollars more and would’ve been able to cheer on the Red Sox at Fenway made me question a few things. One being, why does it cost so much for such a poor breakfast, and two, is this trend in plummeting ticket prices just a short-lived marketing frenzy? While I don’t have an answer for the price of a sub-par meal, I can say that as long as people hesitate to fly due to the economy, prices seem to fall. Airlines are trying to fill empty seats, and these deals are an attempt to wrangle in people like me, who stare longingly at pictures on National Geographic. I’m big on day dreaming and small on financial freedom, and sales like these make jet-setting tempting. Suddenly a dream trip to Spain seems attainable when roundtrip prices are less than a weekend trip to Milwaukee. Sites have been tracking these drastic drops in prices and recent postings include a roundtrip flight from Philadelphia to Madrid for $209. With customers starting to expect these deals, however, last-minute flight purchases have increased, creating an unpredictable rise and fall of prices. To keep up with the yo-yo of sale prices, there are an overwhelming number of websites boasting their “in-the-know” of the best deals, and a few running on my iGoogle page are: Airfarewatchdog.com, Farecompare.com and smarterTravel.com. For students trying to book last minute adventures on the cheap, StudentUniverse and STA Travel can provide flight discounts and travel guides for your destination. Nobody can predict how long the price drop will last, and with hidden fees and extra charges on the rise, it is important to read the fine print. For now, though, I can day dream about my next adventure with a little glimmer of hope that my wish list flight to Rome is within my budget.