Airline Bargains Soon? Why Drop in Bookings Could Be Sign of Relief

Delta Airlines Boeing 767 at Heathrow Airport. stock photo
Bradley Caslin /

A red-hot run of inflation is affecting every corner of the economy and airfares have not been spared. There is hope on the horizon, however, for several reasons — most notably, a drop in bookings, a scenario which could trigger some deals if you’re willing to delay your trips until fall.

Bloomberg reports that U.S. airline bookings fell 2.8% in June as compared with May, based on Adobe Analytics data. Meanwhile, online spending on tickets fell 5.7% to $7.9 billion over the same period, mostly due to the higher prices.

“We’re seeing consumers having to deal with inflation across a lot of different sectors, including fuel and food prices,” Vivek Pandya, lead analyst with Adobe’s Digital Insights, told Bloomberg. “They’re now being a little more reticent to continue to book at this sort of pace they were booking earlier in the year.”

Another encouraging sign is that although the Consumer Price Index (CPI) released July 13 showed inflation at a whopping 9.1%, it also noted that airline fares were among the few major component indexes to decline in June.

In fact, the airline fare index fell 1.8% in June after rising extremely sharply in previous months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Despite the decrease, the index is still extremely high for the 12-month period, seeing an overall hike of 34.1%, according to BLS data.

TripActions also noted in a July 18 tweet that, “they [fares] keep dropping: our latest data show that the 7-day moving avg for US domestic airfare is now $451 — nearly $100 less than mid-May, when airfare peaked. This is now LOWER than the equivalent day in 2019 when the 7-day moving avg was $457.”

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Hayley Berg, lead economist at travel deal site Hopper, told The Points Guy that, “I think we’ll see that the fall shoulder season (September and October) is going to be more of a return to normal demand levels.”

“We’re already seeing relief from those super high mid-summer airfares,” she said. “We’re expecting that airfare… will be significantly lower than the summer peak of $410 per round trip, domestic ticket. And right now it’s averaging just under $300,” she added.

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