Is it just me or are airline deals actually starting to resemble real deals? When my wife and I started dating we did long distance for an entire year. By long distance I mean New York and London, not just a long weekend car ride. We had a real fix on international economy ticket costs, mostly because we would buy one almost every month. For the last three years I never saw a fare under the prices we paid four years ago. This last year however, they were lower. Here's why.

A fantastic study from Hopper demonstrates that airfares across the board have dropped 5% and are expected to hit record lows. Interestingly "off peak" fares are the ones really pushing the trend south. In August airfare was 8% lower than the year before and in September fares were a staggering 18% lower. I'll take it! As to why, it's a multifaceted beast. Oil prices have dropped for years with no affect on ticket prices. That's because many airlines hedge (bet) their fuel costs and sometimes they lose. Essentially, many airlines have been locked into a bad bet for years and only this year are they able to create new positions or in the words of the Beatles "just let it be". On top of that quite a few governments find the consistency of airline pricing as curious as you and I might. Why is every airline offering the same $499 fare for the flight I want. Collusion is a serious allegation and... well, it's illegal. It's in the airlines best interest at least for the time being to pass on the good savings and go their own way. Couple those thoughts with less passenger volume and you've got a reason for low prices! I love low prices.

Tips? Yeah. Try to avoid the rat race. Everyone wants to travel in the middle of summer. If at all possible, finding time to travel in these quieter months, especially September, October, Novemember will lead to the most savings. For example, a long haul round trip in economy from somewhere like the United States to Europe can fetch over $1300 during the summer and less than $650 in the winter. That's literally two for the price of one. Try to make use of a long weekend or vacation time. if you're searching for sun, don't forget, it's now summer in the Southern Hemisphere! Rio!

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