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Why climbing fares can mask real price drops by Fareologist

As faithful readers of this blog know, one of the tools in the Fareologist’s arsenal is the Bing Travel 100 Airfare Index, which measures the average low price over the next several months across 100 popular markets. Here’s how the index has changed over the past week:

Bing Travel 100 Airfare Index

Looks like a steep climb, doesn’t it? That is, until you look at the axis and see that the index rose from $260 to $265. That’s an increase of slightly less than 2%, which isn’t terribly surprising at this point in the holiday shopping season.

If we start the graph at zero, it helps put these price changes in perspective:

Bing Travel 100 Airfare Index

At this scale, you’d be hard-pressed to notice a change at all. Nonetheless, prices are moving around, which you can see better if you look at one market at a time. Below is a histogram showing the distribution of price changes in our top 100 markets over the past week:

Bing Travel 100 Airfare Index

While the overall index is up 2%, only 16 out of the 100 markets are up by exactly that amount. If you’re tracking flights from Newark to San Francisco, for example, the average fare has climbed 9% in the last week. And if you’re watching fares from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the average price is down 10% compared to a week ago. Most other markets are somewhere in between.

Although we often talk about “airfare” as if it’s a single quantity that every day goes up or down (or stays flat), the details are much richer (and much more interesting). Even when prices are “up,” you might find some great deals to somewhere you’d like to go! Of course, the reverse is true — when prices are “down,” the trip you need to take might be one of the expensive outliers.

That’s all the more reason to use our flexible travel tools (if you know where you’re going), or check out our deals (if you don’t). Happy travels!

Got a question? Feel free to leave me a comment on the blog or send me a tweet.


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  • I use many airfare sites in order to obtain the best itinerary and lowest price   Sometimes the right combination is available for only a few minutes.  Why aren't ALL airfares displayed ALL the time.  What are the airlines doing....changing prices every 15 minutes?????

  • Have you taken a look at for great air fare info..

  • have you had a look at they do this kind of stuff, and have articles about airfare etc.

  • Interesting article. I wonder what the latest info is.

  • Interesting article. I wonder what the latest info is.

  • Interesting article. I wonder what the latest info is.

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