Gas prices fall as airline ticket prices rise for holiday season - KOTA Territory News

Gas prices fall as airline ticket prices rise for holiday season


It's a small win for drivers: gas prices across South Dakota have dropped almost 37 cents in the last month; just in time for the holiday travel season.

But while gas prices continue to fall you can expect to pay more this year if you plan to fly.

Rhonda Keller knows firsthand the importance of planning early.

"People have been booking their Christmas travel since probably August or even earlier then that we've seen," said Rhonda Keller, AAA Branch Manager in Rapid City.

Keller says airline ticket prices across the country are on the rise; which is no surprise for the holiday season.

But Economist John Quinn says this year may be different from years past.

"The airlines are in terrible financial shape. They are only making about 50 cents of income per traveler. Their costs are up 6% in the last year. And what they've done is compressed the capacity so there are actually 2-3% fewer flights and fewer seats available," said Quinn.

Quinn says those cutbacks, paired with the higher demand ultimately pushes the prices higher.

But Keller adds the size of the planes that fly in and out of Rapid City could also be to blame.

"A certain number of seats are allotted to discount pricing. Since that percentage is so much smaller because it is a smaller aircraft. Those seats are gone first," said Keller.

While the cost to fly continues to skyrocket; the gasoline prices continue to drop.

Quinn says the reason is simple: supply and demand.

"Supply and demand on the airline side less flights and fewer seats- more demand. On the gasoline side it is the demand is less because of the weaker economy and less people are driving now," said Quinn.

The average retail gasoline prices in South Dakota have fallen 3.8 cents per gallon in the past week; with the average price sitting right around $3.41 a gallon.

"Every time you go to the pump it seems to be less and less so that's an added bonus for families traveling on the road," said Keller.

And more good news, Quinn predicts we should be able to enjoy lower gas prices through the winter.

"It will go down a little bit further again we see a rise and part of that will be seasonal," said Quinn.

Keller says the airlines used to battle it out in a 'fare war', so you'd have a better chance at getting a lower price.

But she hasn't seen that happen in the past few years.

Keller warns, if you haven't booked your holiday flight; book now because the prices will only go up.



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