If your airplane ticket from Boise to visit family this year seemed a lot more affordable than usual, you weren’t imagining things. It probably was.
In fact, airfare from Boise dropped to its lowest this year since late 2010. (That’s according to federal statistics through the second quarter of this year, which show a continual decrease in airfares since mid-2014.)
But there’s more to the story.
As Boise has grown and its airport traffic increased, the average cost for a ticket has gradually synced up with the national average.
Back in early 2000, the average ticket price in Boise was $108 less than the U.S. average — and that was pretty typical. Traffic at the Boise Airport peaked in 2007. Then the recession hit, and airfare dipped, only to start rising again.
By early 2012, Boise ticket prices jumped past the U.S. average by a couple of bucks. They stayed above average until mid-2014, when the airport began seeing more traffic and airlines began adding more routes and direct flights.
“We would assume [that is] because the airlines have become more conservative with their pricing in order to ensure route success,” airport spokesman Sean Briggs said.
The Boise Airport does not set prices, he noted. That’s up to airlines. And the industry has changed substantially in the past decade — from airline consolidations, to how people buy tickets, to shifts in how many seats airlines want filled on each flight.
During the years the Boise Airport was priced way below the U.S. average, “our fares were probably priced too low,” Briggs said. “While it is great for consumers to have low airfare, if the service doesn’t make money, the routes will go away. The airlines had to find that balance that encourages air travel while still making the route profitable.”