Chances of finding cheap European airfare after the high summer season will be remote following the announcement last month of a new “leading transatlantic joint venture.”
Delta Air Lines, Alitalia and Air France KLM have formed an alliance to operate as a single airline on trans-Atlantic flights, to and from Europe and the United States and Canada. Through this alliance, the airlines intend to respond to fluctuating demand and increasing jet fuel prices as a single airline.
For travelers, this means a 7 to 9 percent reduction in seats (passenger capacity) beginning this fall. No longer will you be able to find special sales and deals on cheap flights to Europe when the airlines are desperate to fill their planes at almost any price. These four airlines will now be able to monitor their total flights to ensure every plane is flying as full as possible.
The new alliance will adjust their combined capacity by reducing the number of flights on select routes, eliminating some routes during off-peak seasons and ultimately, adjusting the supply of seats to the demand, which will keep pricing high.
While the airlines maintain this will allow them to provide the best service to their customers, the reality is more likely that the airlines are trying to ensure healthy returns for their shareholders.
To find cheap European airfare, monitor airline sales and try to plan and buy your tickets well in advance of your travel dates.