There's good news and even better news for air travelers.
First, the good. Southwest Airlines
Keep in mind though, that:
- Southwest's "special" fares are scheduled to expire on March 4.
- Other airlines that are matching the low rates offered by Southwest and JetBlue
(NASDAQ:JBLU)won't do so longer than they have to.
- Some experts predict that prices will only increase as summer approaches and when it arrives.
- Some airlines charge a lot if you want to change your ticket later, so either be very sure of your desired travel times when you book your flight or find out exactly what costs you'll face if you need to make a change.
Of course, when seeking out low fares, don't forget the Internet, where deals for travel outside the U.S. also abound. (If you're a high-altitude dining enthusiast, whet your appetite at AirlineMeals.net for meals served on various airlines.)
And finally, although you might be excited to see low air fares, put your investor hat on for a minute and think about what these occasional fare wars mean for the airlines. They don't tend to boost profits. The airline industry has long been a notoriously poor performer for investors, with just a few exceptions, such as Southwest. Not only are fare wars an issue, but so are volatile fuel prices, the cost of empty seats, weather-related snafus, expensive equipment, and other factors. So perhaps book a ticket, and buy stock in some other industries.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian doesn't own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.