Eager to take a trip this summer? If you’re planning to travel by plane, it’s going to cost you.
The price of plane tickets increased by 18.6% during April — the biggest one-month spike in the history of the Consumer Price Index, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — and domestic airfare prices are up 40% since January.
… have risen ~33% in the past year, significantly outpacing the 8% annual inflation rate. Several forces are colliding to produce this sh*tstorm:
- High fuel prices: Jet fuel in the US costs ~2x last year’s price, partly due to the war in Ukraine and the ban on Russian oil imports. That cost gets passed on to you, the flier.
- Staffing shortages: Major airlines don’t have enough pilots and flight attendants to staff planes, which means more flight cancellations and higher prices for available tickets.
- Pent-up demand: Americans are ready to travel again, after delaying vacations for months or years because of covid. People have been willing to shell out the dough, despite spiking prices.
- Carriers capitalizing: Covid devastated the airline industry and execs are desperate to make up for lost profits.
What can I do to avoid getting gouged?
Scott Keyes, the flight deal expert behind Scott’s Cheap Flights, suggests heading abroad instead of traveling within the US this summer.
International travel is down 20%-40% — partly due to the hassle of needing to test negative for covid before re-entering the US — so deals can be found.
And if you can defer that domestic flight until after Labor Day, you might start seeing prices drop.
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