Southwest Screws Up Spring Break For Everyone

Jeanne Sager

southwest airlinesSo much for Southwest being Americans' favorite airline. You can thank the airline for screwing up your spring break plans. The airline announced it's raising airfares nearly across the board by $5 to deal with rising fuel costs. Doesn't sound like much?

Just wait. That's $5 each way, per ticketholder. So for a family of four, that's an extra $40 this spring break. That was the sound of you just crossing the "dolphin show" off your vacation itinerary, wasn't it? Maybe downgrading to a cheaper room? And now for the bigger problem -- where Southwest Airlines goes, so goest the rest of the industry.

Even if you weren't planning to fly Southwest for your family's getaway, you'll see a padded bill. United, American, US Airways, Continental, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue and AirTran all followed with rate hikes. The industry is hedging its bets that after several years of holding back on vacations, this year Americans will be so stir crazy we'll fly anyway.

They could be right. How many staycations can you handle, folks? I'm practically begging my husband to get us out of here in April; even if it's just a two-day jaunt by car. Staring at the same walls day in and day out is getting to me. It's either going to be a few cans of paint to give myself something new to look at (which will mean vacating the house so we don't have to sit in the fumes anyway) or hitting up the savings to get the heck out of here. My husband's aversion to painting may just bring him over to the dark side with me. Vacation here we come!

Fortunately, bad economy news aside, I'm not the only one who may get her way this spring. In a recent AOL vacation survey, 72 percent of the people who responded had the same or more money to spend on spring break vacation plans this year. Now the best news for the airlines: of the people who are planning to fly, 75 percent had yet to book their flights.

Which means they're all going to have to cough up for those padded fares. So if you thought you could squeak by with your savings, it's time to cut your latte habit in half! You've got an extra $10 per person to save by spring.

Will you be able to make the extra bank by then?

Image via Silenus81/Flickr

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