Airline fares rise in Oct. CPI

Airline fares, which fell 0.1 percent in September, reversed course and rose in October according to the latest figures on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor.

The index for airline fares rose 1.5 percent in October, ending a string of three consecutive declines, the BLS said in its Nov. 17 statement detailing the figures. The index has posted declines in nine of the last twelve months, with sharp declines in July and August and is down 5.2 percent for the year ending in October.

The calculations of airline fares include an allowance for checked bag fees but the BLS does not include other ancillary charges which continue to rise and represent a larger percentage of airlines' overall revenue.

The agency found a certain percentage of passengers checked bags. It applies that percentage to all  incoming quotes during sample rotation and then assigns the appropriate checked bag fee (assuming one bag, for either one-way or round-trip, based on the description of the quote). It also applies baggage specs to airlines that do not charge for bags so that if they start to charge in the future, the BLS could easily incorporate that price increase.

The seasonally adjusted all items figure was up 0.2 percent from the September figure. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 0.2 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The index  for all items less food and energy all increased modestly percent in October. The food index, which increased 0.4 percent in September, rose 0.1 percent in October, with four of the six major grocery store food group indexes rising. The energy index, which declined in August and September, advanced 0.3 percent in October; major energy component indexes were mixed, the BLS statement said.

The all items index rose 0.2 percent over the last 12 months. The 12-month change has been between negative 0.2 percent and positive 0.2 percent since January. The food index has increased 1.6 percent over the past year, and the index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.9 percent. These advances have been mostly offset by a 17.1 percent decline in the energy index, the BLS said.

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