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Airfare sales on the horizon?

We've been talking quite a bit about fare increases this year. They've been coming fast and furious, mainly because of high fuel prices and perceived demand. But "perceived" may be the operative word here: Joe Sharkey of the New York Times reports that travelers are starting to push back. "Air travel demand," Sharkey says, "... may finally be falling as fare increases and fuel charges pile up."

We saw similar trends in our recent summer travel survey, in which 84 percent of respondents said they might have to cut back their air travel for the busy summer vacation season. Road trips and postponing travel altogether were listed as viable alternatives. The airlines are just starting to see this crunch: American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United, and US Airways all had fewer passengers in recent months for domestic routes, according to Sharkey.

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What will this mean for you, the consumer? Expect to see some sales (yes, remember that word?) even for summer, as the airlines try to fill those seats. As always, we'll have the latest updates on our airfare page, covering sales as soon as they're announced.

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