But back to the rich. Will they be the only ones who can afford to fly in the near future? Keep an eye on the economy. In a broad sense, we're still in post-recession recovery mode and people are still a bit more cautious than they were in let's say, the days before 9/11. So the travel-for-the-rich theory won't really get a true workout until there's a complete recovery. The signs are there, though, and all you have to do is look at your airline loyalty program. If it's changed or there are plans for a revamp, notice how high-paying business travelers seem to get most goodies (as Delta loyalty members are finding out).
I don't think it'll come to 'flying is only for the rich,' but it's something to watch out for. In the meantime, it's more important than ever to shop for tickets carefully, and the No. 1 thing you can do is always compare airfare prices. Remember, no single airline always has the lowest prices.
Opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.