Airfares seem crazy high right now – Some are deciding to drive!

Airfares seem crazy high right now – Some are deciding to drive!

My friends needed to be in Las Vegas a few weeks ago and after looking at the cost of flying from Omaha to LAS decided that they would drive rather than pay over $1000 RT per person for a last-minute airline ticket. Airlines have been quietly increasing prices and I have been amazed at how high summer airfares have become. I think a lot of the increase in airfares is simply the fact that airplanes are very full and airlines naturally increase the prices as planes near capacity. I think a lot of people will be shocked if they have to take a last-minute flight this summer. That last flight you bought for $350 might be double or triple the cost on flights between now and Labor Day.

 The decline in gas prices and increased airfares will push people to drive instead of fly this summer – Gas prices have moderated nicely in the last 6 months. If two or more people are traveling together then driving makes even more sense this year if you have the extra time that driving takes. Using Omaha as your departure city you can drive to Minneapolis in 6 hours and Chicago in 7 hours. Compare this to leaving home 2 hours prior to your flight to arrive at the airport, park, check-in, etc. Take the 90-minute flight (hope you are not delayed) and then wait the 30 minutes to get your bag and you have invested four hours to fly. Basically driving takes you only 2 additional hours if you travel to MSP or 3 additional hours if you drive to Chicago. With self-driving vehicles already functioning along most interstate highways, driving is becoming a much more viable option than flying for many people.

If you drive over 400 miles you should rent a car instead of using your own car.- For business travel it is a no brainer to require travelers who drive to destinations of 400 miles RT or more to rent a car rather than use their own car and be reimbursed for mileage. The IRS currently allows 65.5 cents a mile for reimbursement when using a car for business. That 400 mile trip costs the company $262. Renting a car for $60 a day for two days plus $60 in gas will cost $180. Plus you don’t put all those extra miles on your car. The same can be true for personal or vacation trips. Why put all those miles on your own car?

 When domestic airline tickets are high it might be a good time to use frequent flyer miles for domestic tickets – This last week I had to fly someone from Tampa to Omaha for a one day meeting. The airfare was going to be over $1000. I normally don’t use my frequent flyer miles on domestic travel, as I can get more bang for the buck using them for business class travel to Europe. But in this case, even though the airlines have devalued frequent flyer miles so that often it takes 50,000 ff miles for a round trip domestic flight (instead of previously 25,000 miles), I decided to use my miles for this trip thus saving me $1000. This is a value of about 2 cents per frequent  flyer mile. Sometimes I can yield as much as 5 cents per ff mile using miles for international business class tickets. But a penny saved is a penny earned.

 Although hard to find, you can still find one-way 70,000 mile frequent flyer business class tickets to Europe this summer – I almost fell out of my chair when I recently found a last minute one way ticket from Omaha to Rome for travel this week. The return flight was a different story as the mileage cost  tripled for the day needed to return.

 Delta has devalued their frequent flyer miles so much it has almost become laughable – For example, a one-way business class flight from Rome to Omaha would cost 375,000 frequent flyer miles.. This compares with the $4500 one way fare if you purchased the ticket. The value of your Delta ff miles is a little over a penny a piece. Not a very good value. I have found United Airlines offers pretty good value for international flights. Historically, I have used Air Canada’s Aeroplan miles to find great business class deals to Europe but they are getting a lot more expensive this year. American Airlines is such a mess I don’t even consider looking at them.

 Greece for All – Final Call – September 1-12! – We have four spots left on the most exciting trip to Greece this September 1-12. Join us to experience the highlights of one of the most beautiful countries in the world: Athens, Nafplion, Ancient Olympia (home to the original Olympic Games), Delphi, Meteora (with its breathtaking cliff-hanging monasteries), and Skopelos (the Mamma Mia island). This tour is hosted by Morrie Enders, Executive Director of Lincoln Community Playhouse, and offers deep insight into the history of theater and the roots of Western civilization, Mediterranean food, and Greek culture; what’s better than this? CLICK HERE to see all the details. Contact our friendly group department today at 402.858.0033 /, do not hesitate!

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