What travelers might expect for 2009
12/16/2008|3:12:00 PM|Hotelmarketing
December 11, 2008: Cheapflights.com is shedding light on what’s in store for the traveler in 2009 with its latest Travelnomics report “Travelnomics – Year in Review, Travel Forecast.” For this latest addition to the Travelnomics series, Cheapflights.com checked in with industry leaders and influencers, from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to Virgin America, to get the scoop on ’08 happenings and what lies ahead in 2009.

The overall consensus: Not only will the cost of airfare drop significantly in 2009, but new routes, new runways, and new technologies will make travel easier and more reliable.

Among the report’s findings:

- Less Delays: The FAA is beginning to roll-out new satellite systems for all airlines and control towers in 2009. For consumers, this means less congestion at the airport, fewer weather delays, and less time in the air and on the ground. This initiative starts in ’09 and is scheduled to be completed by 2013.

- Wi-Fi in the Sky: Virgin America just introduced its first Wi-Fi enabled plane; other carriers will soon follow suit. Travelers’ prayers have been answered.

- Lower Fares: DOT is initiating an auction system at JFK that will allow low-cost carriers to bid for gate space. This system opens doors to existing airlines to expand operations and new airlines to enter; more carriers mean more competition and lower fares for consumers. When introduced at Philadelphia International Airport, fares dropped 21 percent.

- Loyalty Pays: Points.com, an online reward point management site, predicts travel companies will introduce more enticing promotions and opportunities in order to stimulate demand for travel, as well as non-travel products offered by key partners.

- Surcharges are Here to Stay: According to Seth Kaplan of Airline Weekly, a la carte and surcharge fees are here to stay, but with the drop in airfares, consumers can still travel for less.

“Travelnomics – Year in Review, Travel Forecast” also recaps the 2008 travel market and includes tips for finding the best travel deals and affordable airfare, additional 2009 predictions and further details supporting the above findings.

“We are pleased to be the bearer of good news with airfares declining and affordable vacations within sight,” said Carl Schwartz, Chief Travel Officer for Cheapflights.com. “In just the past two months, our research has shown a six percent decline among airfare prices; an optimistic indication of what lies ahead for travelers.”