Trying to Understand Oil Prices and Airline Fares.

The price of crude oil is down. Have you noticed? The price of gasoline is down as a result. The mainland average is just under $3.00 a gallon. Here in Hawaii, it’s about $3.70 on Oahu and, because most everything is more expensive on the neighbor islands, it’s still over four bucks where I live on Maui. But that’s a half-a-buck less than it was a year ago.

But here’s my question: Considering that the airlines pretty consistently cite the cost of jet fuel when they increase fares, why is the cost of airline tickets going up if the price of oil is coming down? Earlier this week, it cost me $236 to fly from Maui to Honolulu and back … and it’s about a 22-minute flight.
Yes, I know that one reason our inter-island flights are so expensive is because most of the fuel a modern jet uses is on takeoff and climbing to cruising altitude. On the flight from Maui to Honolulu, we’re at cruising altitude for about 5 minutes before beginning the descent.

I’ve also been shopping around for flights to the U.S. mainland around the first week of June. Wow! There are a few exceptions — meaning flights costing under $300, but most of those are red-eyes. 

One-way non-stop flights to Los Angeles in June are running $450 and up. And, as we get closer to those dates and the planes fill up … Well, you know what happens.

Just one more reason the experts are saying it’s time to abandon those airline mileage programs and pay cash for our economy seats using one of the web sites that search the net for the lowest air fares — Kayak or cheapoair, for example.
And all those miles? Use ’em to upgrade.