More competitive airfares for Aspen? | AspenTimes.com

More competitive airfares for Aspen?

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The first American Eagle Airlines flight into Aspen is still a couple months away, but it appears the entry of a third carrier into the local market this winter may already be having an impact on fares during the busy – and pricey – holiday period.

A comparison of fares into Aspen during the Christmas/New Year’s holidays shows great variation in price, depending on the dates one flies, as well as the day one checks the reservations websites for American, United and Frontier airlines.

Nonetheless, on Friday, a roundtrip fare between Dallas/Fort Worth and Aspen, leaving Dallas on Dec. 26 and returning Jan. 2, could be found on United for $688.80 (including taxes and fees). Four seats remained available at that price, according to United’s website.

The same trip on American was listed at $1,622.40; it was $1,218.80 on Frontier, though a day earlier, the trip could be found on Frontier’s website for $864.80.

Both the United and Frontier flights involve a connection in Denver; American announced in July that it would launch direct service between Aspen and Dallas/Fort Worth, as well as Aspen and Los Angeles, this winter.

Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 are two of the busiest travel days of the year, according to Bill Tomcich, president of reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass and the resort’s liaison to the airline industry.

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A roundtrip fare for $688 from anywhere on those dates suggests the additional air service that Aspen will see this winter is having an impact, he said via email from Mammoth, Calif., where he was attending a central reservations trade association meeting late last week.

“I can tell you that in my 17 years at Aspen/Snowmass, I’ve never seen roundtrip fares for under $1,000 during the peak selling season for those premium dates,” he wrote.

A roundtrip fare between Dallas and Aspen for a Christmas vacation on Dec. 22-29 was available on American for about $459, while United listed the trip at $502 and Frontier offered it for $500.

A New Year’s holiday trip, from Dec. 29 to Jan. 3, could be found for $528 on American, $565 on United (there was one ticket left at that price, according to United’s website) and about $491 on Frontier.

janet@aspentimes.com