I think so. The rising cost of fuel has to be paid by someone. Maybe the airlines will smarten up and figure that they can't continue to bleed to death. Hike the fares, take the hits, stay profitable until the VLJ's come out.
Oh man, a discount gas station, that's hilarious. Unfortunately gas stations and airlines operate under vastly different economic models. Gas stations have generally have very low variable costs. There revenue stream is derived from the sale of a commodity, while although some what subject to market conditions and general supply, is incredibly stable compared to airplanes. Gas is generally sold at a fixed price as the market dictates, where as air line tickets are subject to many other factors besides supply and demand. Once an airplane leaves a gate, it is impossible to gain any more revenue from sales of seats on that airplane. With gasoline, it is not so. There is no real "expiry date" for lack of a better term on gasoline as there is on air line tickets.
Gas stations generally sell gas for the same fixed price. Every gas station will be within a cent or each other (at least up here in Canada). The price factor is generally not a deciding factor in consumer purchasing. Sure, there will be some people that will decide to find alternative forms of transportation, but for the majority of the population, having a car is essential to daily life. Unfortunately this is not so in aviation. Pleasure travellers generally make their buying decisions almost solely based on price. This is where is LLC has been very successful. The frills are non-existant, people who would never have thought of getting on an airplane 15 years ago abound, and flying for a large part of the population has become a common occurence. People have been drawn away from more established airlines almost soley based on price. Established airlines can do little expect meekly following along, wondering how pensions are even going to be paid, how they can afford pilot salaries, and what to do about the union.
Unfortunately, the low cost carrier is here to stay. For too many people it makes economic sense. I don't know if we've hit the bottom on low cost carriers, maybe there is a new low that we can sink to. For the sake of our profession, I sincerely hope that we have seen the bottom. Unfortunately, there are probably harsher realities out there than PFT, but I do know that someway, somehow, we as a pilot group will find them. We will look forlornly back on the days of PFT and wonder how it could have been so cheap, so easy, and so inexpensive.
A new economic reality will appear one day on the horizon. For the sake of all of us, I hope it does not involve PFT, but a group of professionals standing together united as one. Caps on, chins up lads, it's going to be a heck of a ride.
In some instances, a ticket to Europe from the US for example is cheaper now than it was 30 years ago. No wonder the legacy carriers aren't making any money. They're being forced to lower their fares because of the LCC's. Everything else in the world has become more expensive over the years: Cars, houses, food...the list goes on. One can only expect that the price of airline tickets should go up or at least stay the same.