Airlines Hoping for Summer Travel Rebound

Reuters reports that the airline industry is hoping the summer travel season will revive business and perhaps build up enough momentum to close the year strong. That, of course, isn't exactly news, and also represents a healthy dose of wishful thinking. As Reuters' Kyle Peterson says, "Carriers must fight the uphill battle of persuading people to fork over cash for vacations at a time when job losses mount and personal investments like homes and retirement plans shed value."

Well, good luck, right? But with business and leisure travel in virtual free-fall, struggling airlines have no choice but to slash fares and hope customers are inspired to travel this summer. Farecompare.com's Rick Seaney tells Reuters fares are as much as 25 or 50 percent below last summer's levels. "These are not prices that we're going to see outside of a recession," Seaney says.

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But the thing about a recession is that most people stop buying, no matter how good the deals are. Those who plunk down for a summer trip will likely find great deals, but the going wisdom is that customers by and large will hold on to their cash for the foreseeable future. According to Reuters, "while there is no reliable way to gauge forward airline bookings, evidence suggests a gloomy outlook for leisure travel this year." Seaney also points out that people are booking closer to their departure date, indicating a willingness (or need) to wait for a good deal.

But I'll turn this back to you: What are your travel plans for the coming summer? Are you keeping an eye on fares with the hopes of taking a trip, or have you written off travel until at least later this year? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. Thanks!

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