The cost of airfare prices was up 42.9% compared to the overall inflation rate in the U.S. of 8.2%.
- A variety of global factors have led to a 33% annual increase in airfares. Inflation of flight prices has significantly outpaced overall inflation.
- Initially, airline prices jumped due to a slow recovery following pandemic shutdowns. The war between Russia and Ukraine affected fuel prices, driving airfare higher.
- The most recent struggle is a sudden surge in demand for flights. As airlines struggle to keep sufficient staff and keep up on fuel, prices have risen.
Why it’s important
While airlines are confident that a recovery is coming soon, customers should expect prices to remain high in the coming months, especially around the holiday season.
Tickets for flights around Thanksgiving are already up 25% from last year, though the prices are similar to 2019, Forbes reports.
Fares around Christmas, however, are expected to be 55% higher than last year and almost 20% higher than before the pandemic.
For Americans already contending with tighter budgets due to inflation, high airfare prices could determine whether or not they visit family.
In addition to higher prices this year, travelers still have to contend with sudden cancellations and delays.
During the first half of 2022, the Department of Transportation (DoT) found that 24% of U.S. flights were delayed and 3.2% were canceled, resulting in the DoT calling for airline companies to make changes.
Though weather and labor shortages could still cause travelers to experience some of these problems, flight-tracking system FlightAware has noted that delays and cancellations have decreased since this summer.
Airline companies seem positive about the future of the industry. During an earnings call last week, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastain said that he is confident consumer demand is going to increase in the coming months.
United Airlines also seems optimistic as the company recently committed to a multi-billion dollar order for 100 new planes and committed to a scheduling increase for trans-Atlantic travel in 2023.