The average bargain-hunting online booker has little to zero appreciation for deregulation, inflation, and what they mean to a $260 ticket to Orlando. But they should.
Why don’t we appreciate this heyday in bargain flying? The first, and obvious, answer is that flying is, by definition, expensive, and you average family expends very little energy adjusting big numbers for inflation.
The second, and less obvious, reason why we don’t recognize the amazing fall in ticket prices is that average consumers don’t know what a plane ticket “should” cost. Some prices, we know, as if by heart. Parents know the price of socks, teenagers know the price of Cheetos, and college kids know the price of PBR. These numbers hardly change. Their constancy anchors an expectation. But quick, what’s *the price* of flying to Los Angeles? You have no idea. It could be $300 or $500, depending on the route, the time of day, the number of seats left, the number of days notice, and so on.
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