Flying for the rest of the year – fewer seats, higher fares

As the financial brainiacs of the world slowly start to see some gradual improvement in the global economy, the worlds airlines are pushing through some far reaching changes to their Q4 2009 schedules.

Because the recession hit the airlines so suddenly, none of them were able to make any major cuts to their schedules (these schedules are set in stone in advance).

Overcapacity has meant that 2009 was actually a very good year for passengers, with some of the lowest airfare we’ve seen in years.

Of course, now the airlines are looking at their new schedules, they are making sure that the overcapacity is a thing of the past, and that means trimming the schedule.

Obviously, fewer seats means more people fighting for the cheapest seats, which will naturally result in higher prices. The schedule cuts will bring airlines back to the levels post 9/11.

According to an AP report, American Airlines will be hit the hardest, with a 10.5% drop in passenger miles on its domestic routes. United Airlines is hit equally hard, with a 9% drop. It isn’t all bad news though – JetBlue expects a modest increase in passenger miles for the rest of the year.

Bottom line is – don’t expect any more amazing fare deals any time soon and think about booking early, because flights are probably going to be filling up pretty quickly.

(Image from Flickr, stevelyon)