Searching for deals on airfare. (Photos via iStock / Getty Images Plus / Sinenkiy
Since the spring and summer travel season ended with Labor Day Weekend, air travelers have been hoping the airlines are able to lessen the chaos this coming winter that was so prevalent earlier this year.
But it appears one thing won’t be diminished or mitigated for the holidays.
Ticket prices for air travel could reach record highs, according to NBC News, and while many point to rising inflation across the country as the culprit, that’s just one part of the equation. Part of it also comes down to the old business mantra of supply and demand. The pent-up demand, as evidenced by the number of flyers from earlier this year, is there and is not expected to dissipate for the critical Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year period. But the supply isn’t.
Airlines have had staffing shortages among pilots, flight attendants, gate agents, baggage handlers, and more, necessitating carriers to cut their flight schedules.
According to NBC, airlines have about 87 percent of the seat capacity they had in 2019. While that might not sound like a lot, think again says Hayley Berg, economist at the travel website Hopper.
“So, you’re still missing 15% of the flights and seats that would be otherwise taking off,” Berg said.
Hence, less supply and more demand, creating the ability for the airlines to set higher ticket prices. And as aviation continues to try to make up ground for financial losses suffered over the two years of the pandemic, fares will be at a premium – NBC reported that Thanksgiving airfare is averaging $281 for roundtrip flights, a 15 percent increase from last year.
Christmas flights are averaging $435 roundtrip, up 55 percent from last year and 19 percent over 2019 fares.