Pull out your wallets: This holiday season, air travel will be expensive.

This year, are you considering taking a holiday flight? As in previous years, expect to pay extra for airfare this time around.

According to travel booking company Hopper, round-trip Thanksgiving airfare prices are already averaging $281, a 25% increase from the previous year. The average round-trip airfare for Christmas travel is $435, up 19% from 2018 and 55% from 2019.

According to the website, those are the greatest levels in at least five years.

What caused it? Even while inflation has driven up prices across the board and has been at a 40-year high for the majority of 2022, that isn’t the only factor. Investigate the airlines. According to Hayley Berg, economist at Hopper, while carriers have regained much of their passenger capacity as the Covid-19 epidemic ebbs, they still only have roughly 87% of the available seats they did in 2019.

So 15% of the flights and seats that would otherwise take off are still not available, Berg added.

At the same time, as households schedule travel that was delayed by the pandemic, demand for flights has continued to soar. The CEO of Delta Air Lines, Ed Bastian, stated on Friday’s earnings call that the demand for air travel “remains quite high.”

After two years of postponing travel, Bastian observed, “it is evident that customers are getting out and exploring the world.”

According to the CEO of Delta Air Lines, consumers’ decision to spend more money on experiences rather than things has increased global demand. Business and international travel are likewise slowly but surely gaining momentum according to research from the consulting firm Deloitte.

“A busy summer travel season has not even come close to quenching demand,” Bastian added.
Jet fuel prices are still high, in large part because of the conflict in Ukraine and a reduction in the capacity for refining crude oil.

According to Berg, “for airlines, the cost of flying each seat is higher than ever before, and for consumers, there will be fewer seats available to buy and each will be more expensive.” “That will continue to raise airfares,” the speaker said.

Book as soon as you can, according to experts, to avoid price increases.

Get ready for some excruciating sticker shock, said Scott Mayerowitz, executive editor of the travel-savings website The Points Guy, if you haven’t already booked your holiday travel.

According to Berg, the Hopper economist, passengers should also make the most of any scheduling flexibility they may have. Even if it means staying an additional day or more, arriving or departing on a weekday, especially earlier in the week, can frequently result in savings.

If there is any good news, it is that, according to data from flight tracking company FlightAware.com, the incidence of delays and cancellations that plagued travelers earlier this year has decreased. According to Kathleen Bangs, a spokesman for FlightAware, airlines have been covertly employing more staff to help fulfill consumer demand, which has reduced interruptions.

Bangs concurs that the greatest method to guarantee a better travel experience is to plan ahead of time and maintain flexibility.
Book your seats soon because demand is high right now, she said in an email to NBC News.

If the cost decreases later, a person can book at the lower rate and receive a refund (if the ticket is refundable) or save it as a future travel voucher if it is not refundable.

However, Bangs advised, “book now for the widest range of seats available on the dates you wish to fly and at the most desirable times of day.”