US visits to Europe are booming, but you have to wait till Jan. 15 to get the lowest fares

It used to be you could lock the front door of your house and skip the checkout line at your local electronics retailer on Black Friday. But those days are long gone.

Airfares to Europe are down 20 percent year-over-year, but you have to wait until Jan. 15 to fly there for the lowest fares. European tourism is booming, thanks in part to the weak euro, and that’s important because Europe is the fourth-largest market for American travelers, and it’s not just Europeans and Canadians: Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Mexico and others are also important. The U.S. trade deficit with China has exploded in recent years, raising concerns that this is reducing the attractiveness of trips to America.

What about domestic travel? Hotels are starting to offer cheaper rates and adding flights at a faster clip, and gas prices are relatively low, though they are not coming down. But all this may be hurting the flow of traffic at the airport — consider that the number of airline passengers going to terminals B and C is down by 14 percent over the past four years at one of the biggest U.S. airports, Newark Liberty, according to a new report from Associated Press. It’s a similar story in Washington Dulles, where the number of domestic passengers has fallen by 9 percent in the past year. Some folks might tune out all this if you didn’t fly out of Dulles’s central business district. And yet there’s a lot of activity that goes on there.

Leave a Comment