With no sign of a recovery in airline travel, and with aviation gas costs ramping up, the major carriers are continuing to cut capacity, led by Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. What this indicates is that we are not out of the woods. The travel outlook is continuing to deteriorate, although several indicators say the downward trend is slowing. What isn't slowing is the climbing cost of fuel, which is pressuring the airlines to keep planes filled to capacity.
So while it may be a buyer's market for many travel services, flying isn't one of them. In fact, booking the flight you want is going to get harder - much harder if you happen to be traveling on business.
I predict that there will be further reductions in routes, and these route reductions are going to further limit not just your flight time choices but the cities from which flights originate and terminate. The flight universe is still shrinking, so be prepared to have other options at hand, such as train or bus or car, at the ready. Not only might those alternatives be cheaper, they might be your only alternatives if you are traveling to or from cities where air service is becoming a thing of the past.
In cities with marginal service choices, cost will be an even greater factor. The cost of doing business via air travel is climbing and will only continue to trend upward. This also holds true for all of the ancillary services connected with air travel. The trickle-down effect is raising costs across the board, and there is no sign yet that things have stabilized. So, might you not be able to make a business trip because you cannot afford it? The answer is yes, it's a distinct possibility.
Bottom line: If you thought flying was inconvenient, uncomfortable, and expensive before this, just wait. Fasten your seatbelts. There is turbulence ahead. Hang on for the ride of your business life.
Road Warrior • Miami • www.us.amadeus.com