If you’ve booked any flights this summer, you’ve probably experienced some sticker shock. According to the travel booking site Hopper, domestic airfare is up 34% this summer compared to the same time in 2019, and international airfare is up an average of 2.5% compared to 2019. There are a number of factors that have led to this surge in flight prices, including higher jet fuel prices, increased travel demand and lower overall seat capacity, Hopper reported.
Given the numerous factors that have led to the spike in flight prices, will travelers be able to get any financial relief soon or is this the new normal? GOBankingRates spoke with Jeff Klee, CEO of the boutique online travel booking site CheapAir.com, to find out and get his insights on the current surge.
Travel Demand Is Not the Main Reason Prices Are Spiking
Prices are especially high this summer due to increased travel demand, as many people put off traveling in 2020 and 2021. However, Klee said that demand is not the main reason flight prices have dramatically increased.
“Traveler demand is contributing to the higher prices we’re seeing right now, but fuel prices and staffing shortages are still the real culprits,” he said. “Fuel costs are up to 30% of operational costs for the airlines, so until those prices start to level out, airfare will remain on the higher end.”
However, a Decrease in Demand Will Lower Flight Prices Later This Year
According to CheapAir.com’s 2022 summer flights calendar, the later into the summer we get, the more inexpensive travel days there will be. Flight prices are anticipated to drop even further in the fall.
“We fully expect to see flight prices start to fall in September and October, after the summer travel season is over and kids go back to school,” Klee said. “The summer travel demand has put extra stress on the entire system, so we should see prices start to level off as we get further into the autumn months. In the meantime, the airlines will continue to staff back up, which should also offset the limited schedules that impact prices.”
Travelers From Major Cities Are Already Seeing Lower Flight Prices
As a positive sign of what’s to come, Klee said that flight prices are already going down in some areas.
“We reported last month that larger markets are seeing smaller spikes in domestic airfare prices,” Klee said. “So, if you live in one of those larger cities, you might see less of a sticker shock than someone from a smaller city.”
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