by: Alvin Adriano, ACC, CTA
Traveling has become easier for everyone within the last 8 months and the trends continue to show that this is the golden age of travel. With comparisons from year to year, 2017 is set to break record lows in affordability, increase customer satisfaction and consistent on-time departure and arrivals. It doesn’t matter if you are flying domestic or internationally, there has never been a better time to book a trip and escape from your normal routine and experience the world.
Since 1970, after the deregulation of the airline industry, prices for flying has steadily fallen, allowing passengers to enjoy affordable prices to almost anywhere in the world. Economy prices have reached the lowest margin in three years and continue to set records. Last month, United and American Airlines introduced there “basic economy” fares which allow even more reduced rates to compete against ultra-low fare carriers such as Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant.
Even in the international sector, airlines such as Emirates and Etihad Airlines continue to add new routes, connecting more destinations and has allowed easier accessibility with numerous hubs and itineraries to choose from. With a variety of choices, passengers now have a lot more flexibility which will keep prices low.
Three years ago, roundtrip tickets to Manila ranged between $900-$1100 per person with only 3-4 carriers to choose from. Today you can buy the same ticket for less than $700 with numerous airlines with far better connection times and routing.
In addition to lower pricing, the overall experience before and during the flight has greatly improved. Technology has vastly improved the experience and has allowed passengers the to view flight status, receive real time notifications for delays and cancellations and receive their tickets via email or text. Long gone are the days of paper tickets, teletext and inefficient practices that made travel so drawn out and frustrating. Paperwork is the thing of the past and today’s passenger are so well equipped that all their travel documents can be stored on their electronic devices or a cloud-based app.
What about the in-flight experience? My brother-in-law recently took his first international flight to Manila and was so amazed with the number of amenities onboard that he stayed up for the entire flight watching movies, connecting to the Internet and playing games. On Delta Airlines, you can enjoy Wi-Fi and check your email, post your trip on Facebook and play online games while soaring above at 30,000 feet. Staying connected is an important benefit these days and you can enjoy access for 24 hours for only $28.00 per pass.
And lastly, the ease of travel has become even easier with more countries participating in transit programs allowing passengers to avoid purchasing an expensive visa to enter. China now offers a 72-hour visa free transit in eighteen cities for passengers with passports of 51 countries to stay without a visa on direct transit. More and more countries are adopting visa-free policies to increase tourism and drive growth.
Traveling the world can lead to new passions and will broaden a person’s perspective. It is the quickest way to break down perceived barriers between cultures, beliefs and ideas. This year instead of settling for material possessions, budget a trip to explore the world which you can treasure your experience forever.