Commercial airplane close to landing at holiday destination, showing palmtrees against tropical blue sky - Horizontal image - JohannesCompaan/E+/Getty Images
Commercial airplane close to landing at holiday destination, showing palmtrees against tropical blue sky - Horizontal image - JohannesCompaan/E+/Getty Images

Airfare hasn’t been this cheap since 2009

TripFalcon March 09, 2024

Last Update: 2024-03-09 21:43:40

Why the cost of living is high but plane tickets are relatively cheap, the best countries for expats in 2024 and the big-shot movie stars getting in trouble in the United States and Europe.

Airfares are down

If you’re searching for a silver lining, look to the clouds. While the cost of living is spiraling and hitting groceries and other everyday costs hard, the price of plane tickets is at a 15-year low – in the United States, at least. Travel expert Katy Nastro tells CNN Business that average airfare is nearly a quarter less than it was prepandemic, and in fact, “hasn’t been this cheap since 2009.”

This is the first full “normal” year of travel since Covid rocked our world, and while Nastro doesn’t expect prices to skyrocket anytime soon, she does sound one note of warning.

“The single biggest factor for why we see cheap flights is competition,” says Nastro. “We want (budget) carriers in the mix because it actually places downward pressure on the legacy carriers” and keeps prices down. Airline mergers could affect that, meaning less competition and, potentially, higher fares. But this week, a federal judge blocked a merger of JetBlue and Spirit Airlines.

New year, new life

If you’re tempted by new visa programs and tax incentives to encourage digital nomads, investors and families to begin fresh lives abroad, then our guide to the best countries for expats will help get you started.

Portugal’s Golden Visa program has been a hot favorite for years, and the cost of living is generally more affordable than elsewhere in Europe. Californian Katie Meyer moved to the Portuguese seaside resort of Cascais in 2021, but admits she does find some things frustrating.

Mexico has long been a popular retirement destination for Americans but is now attracting more families and the remote working crowd. If you’re going on a reconnaissance mission to investigate a move to the likes of Oaxaca, San Miguel de Allende or Playa del Carmen, our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have put together this list of everything to pack for your Mexican vacation.

Misbehaving travelers

Movie legend and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was detained at Munich Airport this week and now faces criminal tax proceedings for not declaring a luxury watch from Swiss brand Audemars Piguet.

He’s the second celebrity to have found himself in hot water recently – and luckily only figuratively. Earlier this month, veteran actor Pierce Brosnan pleaded not guilty to walking in thermal areas in Yellowstone National Park. The hot springs and geysers famously reach temperatures of up to 200 degrees F (93 degrees C) and have already claimed dozens of lives.

The hoi polloi have also been running foul of the law. An American airline passenger allegedly bit an All Nippon Airways cabin crew member mid-flight on Tuesday, forcing the Seattle-bound flight to return to Tokyo. The female flight attendant sustained minor injuries.

A nine-month Royal Caribbean cruise has turned into an unexpected hit online, with millions gripped by what’s become a “real-life reality show” for TikTok users. Fans tell CNN why they’re loving watching this “massive adventure” where “anything can happen.”

Source: cnn