A major travel firm says Twin Cites airfares may increase next year at a rate faster than the national average.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel is forecasting that fare increases in North America will average about 3 percent. But the Minnetonka-based company predicts airfares out of Minneapolis-St. Paul will rise about 5 percent to 8 percent overall.
Airlines are expected to reduce flights out of the Twin Cities. Meanwhile, demand for air travel is likely to rise because of the region's relatively healthy economy.
"It'll be a little bit more expensive to travel, but that doesn't mean all is lost," said Joel Wartgow of Carlson, who worked on the forecast. "There are still techniques and tactics that travel managers and travelers can deploy to help mitigate some of these increases."
These techniques can include traveling on low-fare carriers, flying coach instead of business class, flying at off-peak times and sticking to routes where competition keeps fares in check.
Wartgow emphasized competition among carriers. "In the more competitive routes," he said, "we're not anticipating that they'll be as dramatic price increases as there would be on routes that are serviced by one dominant carrier."