During the past couple of months, airlines have gained back some of the pricing power they lost during the economic downturn. Travel-management companies are predicting that airfares will continue to inch up next year. "There's no doubt that prices are firming," said Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare. Seaney explains that domestic and international airfares rapidly declined from November through May. In June, the first domestic airfare increase took place. "For some context, there were 15 hikes in 2008 and 17 hikes in 2007," Seaney said. "We had a very steep bottom at the end of May and sort of a firming over the three or four months."

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