Airline fares continue to fall in September CPI

Airline fares continued to fall sharply in September, decreasing 6.4 percent over the month after falling 9.1 percent in August, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for All Urban Consumers. September's airline fare drop ran counter to the overall CPI, which rose 0.4 percent for the month on a seasonally adjusted basis after an increase of 0.3 percent in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.



Over the last 12 months, the index for airline fares has risen a net 0.8 percent.

Industry observers as well as frequent flyers know that the CPI's airline fare index does not necessarily reflect the all-in cost of an airline journey. 

Airlines continue to focus on increasing ancillary revenue, which carries an important caveat. While the BLS's calculations of airline fares include an allowance for checked bag fees, the BLS does not include other ancillary charges which represent an ever-larger percentage of airlines' overall revenue.

Although the three major U.S. carriers announced in September 2020 that they would eliminate the fees for changing tickets, other nickel-and-dime charges remain, and the carriers continue in lock step. While American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) quickly followed United's (NYSE:UAL) lead in abolishing change fees last year, in September 2018 AA, Delta, United and jetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) all raised fees for checked bags from $25 to $30 for the first bag, and from $35 to $40 for the second. While baggage fees are included, other similar nickel-and-dime charges are not tracked in the airline fare index.

In other areas, the indexes for food and shelter rose in September and together contributed more than half of the monthly all items seasonally adjusted increase. The index for food rose 0.9 percent, with the index for food at home increasing 1.2 percent. The energy index increased 1.3 percent, with the gasoline index rising 1.2 percent.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in September, after increasing 0.1 percent in August. Along with the index for shelter, the indexes for new vehicles, household furnishings and operations, and motor vehicle insurance also rose in September. The indexes for apparel, and used cars and trucks all declined over the month.

The all items index rose 5.4 percent for the 12 months ending September, compared to a 5.3-percent rise for the period ending August. The index for all items less food and energy rose 4.0 percent over the last 12 months, the same increase as the period ending August. The energy index rose 24.8 percent over the last 12 months, and the food index increased 4.6 percent over that period, the BLS said in its Oct. 13 statement.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



If you found this article helpful, informative and/or entertaining, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help support this private project.


Comments