While air travel prices have not quite dropped to pre-pandemic levels, they are slowly coming down just in time for Labor Day weekend.
According to a report by travel savings company Hopper, the average ticket should be dropping 25% in August, before seeing a rebound for the end of summer. Prices for Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are predicted to be exponentially higher as well. This kind of price break is a result of a perfect storm of factors for travelers and the airline industry.
“Prices this summer were elevated beyond normal seasonal airfare increases by high jet fuel prices and pent-up demand coming out of two depressed summer seasons, and by the traveler, demand peaking earlier in the summer than in a normal year. Flight prices drop seasonally in late August through mid-October, as demand tapers off following the peak vacation months in May, June, and July.”
Continuing, the report provided guidance for fall travel too. “For those planning to travel domestically in September, plan to book by the middle of August for the best deals, while October travelers can expect to book in the next six weeks. Prices will be lowest three-to-six weeks before your trip departure date, rising rapidly in the last three weeks before departure.”
This kind of news is a great bit of information for travelers across the country, but it also remains to be seen if it will be worth it. The longer than usual lines, rampant delays, and cancelations have been adding to travel woes for months now.
Many airlines have been bringing in foreign pilots on work visas as a result. These men and women can fill the need for the short term. However, the airline industry as a whole is severely lacking in employees in all sectors. From pilots to ground crew to air traffic controllers. There is not a part of the industry that hasn’t been impacted at least in some small way since COVID started.
As a result of these impacts, many people swore off travel until it became safer or was necessary. Now, those “wait till COVID passes” people have already taken their first trips. This is greatly pushing that discount in airfare and helping get people back in the air. While some are still waiting and hoping for better conditions and an easier time, with prices like these many are now getting impatient.
For those looking to take advantage of these discounts, flexibility and patience are the keys to making it happen. Matt James, founder of Visitingly.com, a travel guide blog has been issuing tips left and right to help people make the most with their budgets.
“If you’re able to fly during the week instead of the weekend, you may be able to find a better deal. Additionally, it’s worth considering flying to an alternate airport. If your destination has more than one airport, compare fares to see if one is significantly cheaper than the others. If you see a fare that’s significantly lower than what you’ve been seeing, it’s worth booking right away.”
While none of these tips are groundbreaking or surprising for anyone who has traveled much in the last 20 years, they are always worth reminding people of. After two years of COVID lockdowns, a horrific economy, and many facing joblessness or underemployment, this is a welcome change. People need to get out and travel, and ending the summer with a quick trip is the perfect way to do it.