Over the past few years, airfares for domestic flights in the U.S. have fallen as much as 7 percent a year. But that trend may be coming to an end. A forecast by a global travel consultant predicts that airfares in North America will rise 1 percent this year, while hotel rates will increase 2 percent to 4 percent.
More people are expected to take to the skies during the Christmas holiday period, continuing the surge in travel demand that is projected to generate strong profits for U.S.-based airlines, according to industry forecasts. During the 21-day Christmas travel season, 51 million passengers are expected to fly on U.S.-based airlines, representing a 3.5 percent increase over the same period last year, according to a forecast by Airlines for America, the trade group for the country's carriers.
In response to the notorious dragging of a seated passenger in April, United Airlines is set to launch a program that lets passengers on overbooked flights make a bid on how much compensation they will take to give up their seats. The bidding program would be new to United, but a similar program was pioneered among major carriers by Delta Air Lines several years ago. Delta takes bids from passengers via text and chooses the lowest bid until the carrier has accommodated every passenger.