I was stopped in my tracks by a fascinating and frightening statistic in a story by Dan Reed in USA Today:
United Airlines … currently spends about $173,000 to fuel a Boeing 747 for a flight from Chicago to Hong Kong, roughly double what it cost four years ago. United has to get nearly $500 in revenue out of each of the 347 seats on that plane just to pay for the fuel — and it still has to cover other expenses, including crew salaries, in-flight meals, the plane’s upkeep, marketing and the cost of the jet itself.
Among other holy-crap statistics in the article: Delta Air Lines will pay $2 billion (with a b) more for fuel this year than it did last year.
This is the kind of reporting that makes me love USA Today. Nobody else is writing as well or as much about the travel industry from the consumer’s perspective.
I recommend the whole story to anyone who wants to understand how, why and when airfares are going up.