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Expected Significant Increase in Airfares during Holiday Travel

We may be experiencing a reprieve from the mayhem and crowding at airports from the spring and summer, along with a decrease in airfares this fall. But be prepared for an increase in the cost of airline tickets throughout the holiday period, which lasts from mid-November until shortly after New Year’s. 

Hopper predicts that round trip domestic flights for Thanksgiving will average out at roughly $350, up 22% from the pre-pandemic year in 2019 for the same time period. According to Hopper, round-trip international tickets should cost an average of $795. That price has increased by 25% since 2019 and by a staggering 41% since 2021 over the holiday season. As Christmas approaches, it gets worse.

Domestic airfare will typically cost $463 roundtrip during the weeks leading up to Christmas, which is 31% higher than in 2019 and 39% more than in 2018. And if you intend to travel abroad, perhaps to see the Christmas markets in Europe, be aware that round-trip international airfares are forecast to average $1,300 in 2020, up 26% from Christmas 2019.

According to Hopper Senior Economist Andrew Heritage, “Factors, including increased jet fuel prices, fewer flights booked and lower airline capacity compared to 2019, and two years of pent-up holiday travel demand, are leading to higher Thanksgiving and Christmas airfares.”

Hopper was quick to clarify that even while costs may be going up, there is still a pent-up demand for air travel. More than half of all Americans expect to travel for the holidays, according to a survey by Hopper, despite the expense increases from the previous year and even from three years ago.

The airline said that there was a general consensus among aviation analysts, including Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, that the spring and summer’s infamous delays and cancellations would abate during the holidays.

A representative for the industry group Airlines for America, Hannah Walden, told Yahoo Money that “U.S. airlines have initiated aggressive hiring efforts to satisfy this demand.” “However, the recovery in demand for air travel has happened quickly — faster than the majority of industry analysts and experts ever anticipated. In comparison to pre-pandemic levels, September and October flight schedules have been scaled back by 15%.

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