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Originally published July 30, 2012 at 10:58 AM | Page modified July 30, 2012 at 10:59 AM

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Cheaper airfares expected in August

Airfares predicted to drop 10 to 20 percent next month.

Los Angeles Times

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Air travelers, rejoice: Relief from soaring airfares may be just around the corner, at least temporarily.

For travelers, it can't happen soon enough. In the first three months of the year, the average domestic airfare in the U.S. climbed to $373, up 4.8 percent from the same period last year, according to the U.S. Transportation Department.

That was on top of an 8.3 percent increase in fares in 2011 and another 8.3 percent increase in 2010, according to statistics from the agency.

But air travelers should get a break next month, when airfares are expected to drop 10 percent to 20 percent.

That is the prediction from Rick Seaney, chief executive of travel website FareCompare. He said the price drop should affect flights starting around Aug. 21, with the start of the slow fall travel season.

In late August, children start to head back to school as summer vacations end, prompting many airlines to drop their "peak travel season" surcharges, he said.

For example, a round-trip ticket between San Diego and Providence, R.I., sells for about $380 if the flight is in mid-August but drops to $222 if the flight is in September, according to data from FareCompare. A round-trip ticket between Washington and San Francisco sells for about $255 for a mid-August flight but $208 for a September flight, the website said.

"Demand appears to be slightly down this summer from what had been expected," Seaney said. "And the airlines are not pushing their luck with further price increase attempts — at least for now."

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