As international airfares soar, Americans stay in USA

Sales of Air France tickets declined more than 10% in the USA from April through August, says spokeswoman Karen Gillo. But travel to the USA has remained strong because of the strong euro and other factors, she says.

Many American business travelers say they're flying less. Christensen says this year will be the first year since 2001 that he won't fly more than 100,000 miles. He has made just three international trips this year — six fewer than last year — because of high fares.

It's not the high airfares but rather airlines' fees to make changes to tickets that most disturb business traveler Frank Luppino, who has made six international trips this year. United Airlines, for example, charges $250 for changes in tickets to most international destinations.

"The change fees associated with international travel are making it more difficult for me to change plans and make meetings abroad," says Luppino, the sales director of a Chicago firm that manufactures lighting and sound equipment for the entertainment industry.

Though many fliers moan about international airline fees and fares, consultant Boyd offers some comfort.

"International tickets, like all airline tickets, are an exceptionally good value," he says. "Their cost has not inflated materially over the past 30 years."

FLIERS: How do you find discount fares for international flights? Share tips below.

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