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22 Mar, 2012

Airfare Search Engine Claims U.S. Domestic Flights are Hot, Europe is Not


NEW YORK, March 21, 2012  /PRNewswire/ — Fly.com™, the airfare search engine, today announced the results of a data study that shows a significant shift in destination preference among travelers flying out of New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston.  At the same time, the study identifies dramatic price reductions in the cost of domestic airplane tickets, with flights to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas and Chicago offering the biggest year-on-year price drops.  In contrast, some flights to Europe are almost twice as expensive as this time last year.

The study used 1 million Fly.com user searches to identify and compare the top route preferences (from the five origin cities) during Feb. 12 – March 12, 2012, against those searches made during the same period in 2011.

At the core of Fly.com’s findings is a clear indication that interest in European destinations has considerably diminished, compared with last year.  Instead, U.S. travelers are now setting their sights firmly on domestic destinations, particularly cities in California and Nevada.  This is likely due to rising airfare prices for international routes, which are up as much as 70% to cities such as London and Barcelona.  In contrast, fares for popular domestic flight routes have fallen by more than 40% in 2012.

The Fly.com study also revealed a 2012 trend for destinations closer to home, with many of the top five flight routes out of New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston involving destinations that were less than a four-hour flight away.

“These are very significant year-on-year changes in traveler preference,” said Warren Chang, vice president and general manager, Fly.com.  “And it is clear that new low-cost carrier routes, as well as surging oil prices and airline consolidation across the Atlantic, have played an instrumental role in affecting this change.”

New York City: Barcelona dropped out of the top five most popular destinations for New Yorkers, as prices surged 31% this year.  Moreover, better fares for routes to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas – most likely driven by increased airline competition – has helped drive popularity for Western destinations.

2012 Top 5 Routes 2011-2012 Price Change
1. San Francisco Down 13%
2. San Juan, Puerto Rico Down 18%
3. Las Vegas Down 3%
4. Orlando Up 16%
5. Miami Up 8%


2011 Top 5 Routes 2011-2012 Price Change
1. Miami Up 8%
2. Ft. Lauderdale Down 10%
3. Barcelona Up 31%
4. Orlando Up 16%
5. Los Angeles Down 14%


San Francisco: New York knocked London off its perch as the most popular destination for Bay Area travelers in 2012.  And, with the exception of routes to London and Miami, the most popular San Francisco flight routes in 2011 and 2012 (combined) have all dropped in price.  This demonstrates how travelers are benefiting from increased competition among Virgin America, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines as these airlines and others continue to duke it out over the most popular West Coast routes.

2012 Top 5 Routes 2011-2012 Price Change
1. New York Down 17%
2. Honolulu Down 15%
3. Las Vegas Down 12%
4. Los Angeles Down 2%
5. New Orleans Down 2%


2011 Top 5 Routes 2011-2012 Price Change
1. London Up 44%
2. Miami Up 27%
3. Las Vegas Down 12%
4. Chicago Down 31%
5. Honolulu Down 15%


Chicago: Chicago is the only major metro area with lower prices to Florida.  As a result, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale both make the top five route list this year.  In addition, new routes from Spirit Airlines to Dallas and Las Vegas offer travelers the biggest cost savings, with as much as 42% fare reductions.  No international destination is featured in the top five in 2012.

2012 Top 5 Routes 2011-2012 Price Change
1. Las Vegas Down 35%
2. New York Up 7%
3. Orlando Down 13%
4. Los Angeles Down 40%
5. Ft. Lauderdale Down 4%


2011 Top 5 Routes 2011-2012 Price Change
1. Barcelona Up 11%
2. Orlando Down 13%
3. San Francisco Down 33%
4. Las Vegas Down 35%
5. Dallas Down 42%


Los Angeles: Airfares to London jumped 44% in 2012, turning Los Angeles travelers off the lure of the Olympic city, while Las Vegas fares dropped as much as 29% thanks to low-cost airline competition.  Likewise, a new carrier route to Chicago offers airfare savings of as much as 40%.  San Francisco also makes the top five list in 2012.

2012 Top 5 Routes 2011-2012 Price Change
1. Honolulu Down 18%
2. New York Down 13%
3. Las Vegas Down 29%
4. Chicago Down 40%
5. San Francisco Down 11%


2011 Top 5 Routes 2011-2012 Price Change
1. London Up 44%
2. Honolulu Down 18%
3. New York Down 13%
4. Miami Up 5%
5. Las Vegas Down 29%


Houston: London prices have almost doubled since last year, pushing it far out of the top five.  But Houston travelers show their consistent demand for domestic destinations, with three of the 2011 top flight routes also making the 2012 short list.

2012 Top 5 Routes 2011-2012 Price Change
1. Las Vegas Down 11%
2. New York Up 19%
3. Los Angeles Down 29%
4. Orlando Up 11%
5. San Francisco Up 12%


2011 Top 5 Routes 2011-2012 Price Change
1. London Up 71%
2. Las Vegas Down 11%
3. Los Angeles Down 29%
4. Denver Down 26%
5. New York Up 12%


For further info: www.fly.com.

  • Sceptical Traveller

    This article provides further evidence that it’s only in the socialist utopia of Europe that increasing costs to
    business and the consumer via the extension of its Carbon Dioxide tax to international air-travel could be introduced at a time when the
    socialists’ economy is falling apart around them.

    The falling away of travel to Barcelona and London out of the USA is just the start.

    The fantastic Asian destinations along with those on the Indian sub-Continent provide extremely attractive alternative destinations for the US traveller. Europe is (or rather the EU troglodytes are) making a big mistake in thinking the travel consumer is just another “muppet” to be milked.