Airfares take huge jump in May

If you’re making summer travel plans, you may already have noticed that airfares have been on the increase. On Tuesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics told us how much.

Airfares "rose sharply in May," according to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) summary. That report noted that the 5.8% spike in airfares from April prices marked the heftiest one-month increase since July 1999.

Overall, airfares increased 4.7% between May 2013 and May 2014, which was already the biggest year-over-year change since November 2011. However, while an increase in May was expected as the trend to higher prices continued, the huge increase eclipsed the rate of increase from the previous year.

Rising fuel costs stemming from the unrest in the Middle East played a part in the increase, and some industry observers don’t expect prices to dip until that unrest is tempered.

Airfares are not the only category of expenditure that increased. According to the CPI, consumer prices overall rose at the fastest pace in more than a year, climbing 0.4% in May after an increase of 0.3% in April. Over the past 12 months, prices have increased 2.1% overall, far less than the 5.8%

While fares are definitely higher than during the same period last year, air travel still remains a relative bargain.

For example, round trip tickets from Los Angeles (LAX) to New York City (JFK), or Seattle (SEA) to Miami (MIA) leaving June 28 and returning July 5 can still be purchased for about $650 or less (as of the time of this post), including a Saturday night stay.

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