Would you be willing to routinely pay $1200 to $1400 to fly from DFW to Europe? That's a question travelers may have to confront next summer.
Average prices for non-stop tickets from DFW to places like London, Paris, and Frankfurt, could jump well above their historic norms, if a deal involving American Airlines and British Airways moves ahead, according to Rick Seaney, who watches fares at FareCompare.com. "Consumers are going to end up paying more for tickets to Europe", Seaney said.
Right now, prices for trips this fall are already up about 20 to 40 percent over last year, according to a FareComapre analysis.
Last year consumers saw some of the cheapest ticket prices in years, as airlines cut prices and tried to overcome the economic crisis. This fall, prices from DFW to London are running close to $1000 for travel on many days in November, when historically prices have been in the $600-$800 range, Seaney said.
So what could drive typical prices over the $1000 mark? A pending deal between American and British Airways would allow the two companies to work together to set prices, and analysts believe that may move costs higher for consumers over the next year.
The two airlines expect to get anti-trust exemption from the U.S. Government, allowing them to coordinate their trans-Atlantic routes. At DFW Airport, American and British Airways together control 75 percent of all non-stop flights to Europe, and the two airlines control 100 percent of all non-stop flights between DFW and London.
American Airlines says government rules prohibit the company from commenting on future pricing, but in a statement an airline spokesman said, "We do believe that our joint business venture with AA/BA/IA (American, British Airways, Iberia) will face lots of competition from the other two major airline alliances, with which we will vigorously compete. "
FareCompare's Seaney says consumers looking to save, may need to opt for flights that connect through other U.S. gateways to Europe. People looking for the convenience of a non-stop will likely pay a higher premium.
Higher prices could keep travelers like Ashlyn Holland from getting home next year. Her husband is in the military, stationed in Germany, and she had to take out a loan to pay for the $1000 plane ticket to get there to be with him. Holland says there will be no trips home to see family in Dallas for some time to come. "If it were cheaper, I'd come back once a summer or something, but now I have to save for it", Holland said.