Friday, January 02, 2015

Travelers pay higher prices at Spokane International Airport (KGEG), Washington

SPOKANE, Wash. - As many make travel plans for the new year, they may be paying higher ticket prices out of the Spokane International Airport.

KREM's 2 On Your Side learned that flights out of Spokane are some of the highest average priced flights in the country and prices continue to increase.

Passengers traveling through Spokane are paying an average of $30 more per ticket than other cities in the Northwest.

As 2015 gets underway, the savings you reap at the gas pump, may now go toward your next plane ticket out of the Inland Northwest.

"It's kind of lame," said Sam Stotts who was flying out of the Spokane International Airport. "It's like maybe I should boycott flying and drive because gas prices are cheaper."

For Sam Stotts, higher ticket prices are not just inconvenient, they are the things that keep her separated from her younger sister. Sam's sister lives in Boston and anytime ticket prices go up, there is less of a chance for them to visit.

"It's sad saying goodbye to her today, because I don't know when I'm going to see her again," Sam explained.

If recent trends hold true, it might be a while before Sam sits next to her sister again. That is because Spokane has some of the highest average fares in the Northwest and the price is going up.

According to the most recent data provided by transportation officials, you are likely to pay an average of $396 for a round trip ticket out of Spokane. Not only is that more expensive than the average ticket prices out of Seattle and Portland, but it is the biggest fare increase for all major airports in the Pacific Northwest.

In fact, only Boise has higher fares than Spokane. Even then, both Spokane and Boise are more expensive than the national average.

"It's at least a month of working to get her down here and not even have the money to do stuff with her," Sam said.

Like many smaller airports, there are fewer direct flights out of Spokane, which has always driven up prices.

On top of that, airlines grew accustomed to charging higher fees when fuel prices were high. Even though fuel prices have dropped, transportation experts say airlines have left their fares the same. Officials also said that recent holiday supply and demand caused airlines to raise their prices again.

As we start the new year, there could be some relief on the horizon. Delta has added flights from Spokane to Seattle. Many hope the increased competition will help reduce ticket prices, but that could take a while.

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