Higher airfares affect local travelers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Dana Stroud flies to Dallas a lot for work, but her next ticket is more than $100 higher than usual.

"I'm a little concerned about the increase in airfare, so it's not making me a happy camper, but you know, the price of everything goes up and you just have to learn to deal with it and budget accordingly," Stroud said.

Travel agent Lindsay Hardy, of Travel Leaders of Jacksonville, said the spike in airfare is because fuel prices are going up, which means airlines are cutting back on scheduled flights, so fewer seats are available.

In northeast Florida, that's causing many families to stay home.

"I have a family of five, so to me that means maybe spending more time at Jacksonville's beaches and the zoos and our own venues here in Jacksonville, which could be a great thing," Jackie Keiser said.

"I think it's a hindrance to the economy," Erik Head said. "I think you've got to keep fares low so people can travel and do business and go see family and do the things that are important in life."

Hardy has some helpful tips if for those who still plan on booking a flight.

"Book early, avoid Fridays and Sundays. Those are the most traveled days of the week," she said. "And try to look at other airports -- Daytona Beach or Orlando. You may find better options. And then be flexible on your dates."

Even though prices have gone up, February is typically a cheaper time to fly.

"When kids are out of school, the airfare is higher, so you want to avoid summer, spring break, the holidays," Hardy said. "So if you can go in the spring or fall, you can save hundreds of dollars on airfare."

Hardy said those overwhelmed trying to find a good fare should call a travel agent.

"Travel agents have global networks and we have access to things that the consumer doesn't," she said.

That's something Stroud may consider if flights to Texas keep going up.

"We're still going. We'll just have to cut back in other areas, but we will still go," she said.

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