CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mountaineer fans waiting until the last minute to book flights for the WVU-Texas football game this weekend will have to cough up some serious dough to do so.
Round-trip airfare between Charleston and Austin this weekend will set you back at least $1,000 — and that's the "bargain" price.
Excitement surrounding West Virginia University's inaugural Big 12 Conference football season hit a fever pitch over the weekend following WVU's offensive blitzkrieg victory over Baylor Saturday in Morgantown.
On Saturday, No. 8 ranked WVU will face the No. 11 ranked Texas Longhorns in the Mountaineer's first Big 12 road game.
With national sports pundits proclaiming WVU quarterback Geno Smith a clear front-runner for this year's Heisman Trophy award, many fans are eager to see how Smith performs against the Texas defense.
"There's definitely more people interested in going to away games," said Brian Belcher, director of marketing at Yeager Airport.
"I think there's such an interest in West Virginia University right now that a lot of fans are willing follow the team to these games," he said.
All the interest and hype around the team and its quarterback have affected travel prices.
Tickets on flights between Charleston and Austin, Texas are in high demand right now. As a result, fares have gone sky high.
A Priceline.com search Tuesday afternoon found round-trip airfare rates ranging from $1,074 to $2,101 per seat.
That's a far cry from where prices for those flights started out.
"If people bought their tickets early, they were going to get about $350 round trip," Belcher said.
Yeager offers a daily direct flight to Houston. There also are several options to catch connecting flights to Austin through hubs in Chicago, Charlotte and Atlanta.
Airlines constantly adjust seat prices to account for changes in demand and availability.
Belcher said officials were watching to see how airfares to Big 12 country changed once the conference released its football schedule in February.
"We kept checking the fares, and it was cheap right at the beginning, but they jumped probably two months after the schedule came out," he said. "We were seeing them early on at like $350, then it jumped to $550."