US airfares are increasing daily, and those who hold out in hopes of travel bargains this winter season are being punished, according to a report released November 9 by Bestfares.com.

Some routes are 50 percent more expensive now, compared with their price over the summer, according to the website.

While last year rewarded the holiday airfare gambler, the website reports that this year airlines have continued to increase their fees despite a prolongeded worldwide drop in demand for travel and tourism. But airlines have artificially created more demand by using smaller aircraft and flying fewer routes, making consumers pay a higher price for the fewer available seats, according to the website.

An unprecedented spate of surcharges - for baggage, food and, most recently, a $20 (€13) surcharge in the US for travel on certain dates, clustered around major holidays - have further increased the price of fares.

The average Thanksgiving fare is over $350 (€230), an increase of two percent from last year, according to Bing Travel, the fare-watching website owned by Microsoft. Christmas fares are slightly less for now, but trending upwards.

Bestfares urges consumers not to pass up a good deal in hopes of better bargains that are not likely to materialize.

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