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Travelers looking for flights for spring, summer, and other times are facing the same problem: Flights can be very expensive right now – in some cases, we’re See some of the highest airfare prices in years. But, that’s not the whole story…
Why Are Flights To Europe So Expensive Right Now
It’s a rude awakening to travelers after two years of unbelievable pandemic bargains: think major airlines’ under $50 domestic flights, 200 flights dollars to Europe and even $63 flights to Chile and vice versa. But the past is back when travelers faced higher fares for Domestic flights and many international trips.
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The great price raises many questions. Why are flights so expensive now? Can travelers expect a significant increase in flight prices this year? When will airfares drop? Or will they be at all?
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Let’s see what happened with the increase in airfares and see if we can find light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s not just you. Data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index shows that airfares increased by 25.6% from January to January 2023. This means that the average American is now the average person. pay more for flights than a year ago. And, the annual figure is higher than last month.
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But wait: that doesn’t mean every flight is more expensive. The “average fare” is made up of millions of individual fares. Some are definitely higher… but there are still very good deals on cheap flights. The trick is knowing how, when and where to find them.
That’s what we specialize in here at Thrifty Traveler. Our team of aviation experts spends all day, every day searching for the lowest airfares and airfares around the world and sending them straight to the inboxes of our Thrifty Traveler Premium subscribers. we.
We’re proof that cheap flight deals are still out there – and they’re not going anywhere. It can be harder to find them than in previous years.
So why are airfares so high today? It’s a concept familiar to you: supply and demand.
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After it almost evaporated in 2020, travel demand was strong again in 2023 and is going nowhere. In fact, it may be higher than ever. That’s good news and bad news.
As with all things, one of the biggest factors behind flight prices is the simple law of supply and demand. When demand disappeared at the beginning of the pandemic a few years ago, it forced airlines to cut the supply of flights until it returned. Airlines cut personnel, reduce flight routes, reduce flight frequency, running at only 20% of normal operations or less.
Not wanting to travel, they’ve slashed fares to unimaginably low prices to sell as much as possible, like this: flights from Atlanta (ATL) to Santiago (SCL) typically start at $900 and up… for just $63 round-trip.
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Will Flight Prices Go Down? Why Airfares Are So Expensive
However, things have changed, with travel demand continuously increasing to levels not seen since before the pandemic, exceeding the capacity of airlines to carry that number of passengers.
The aircraft is now operating at full capacity, especially in the United States. After putting planes in the desert, retiring planes, and cutting staff to survive the recession, airlines can’t grow 100 percent fast enough to meet this increased demand. .
As you can see, airline staffing has dropped to unimaginably low levels in 2020 and 2021 and airlines have started hiring unprecedentedly last year to try to meet demand. that increased demand. But with all the training requirements and a younger, less experienced workforce, a higher headcount isn’t enough for them.
Coupled with an ongoing pilot shortage and difficulty replacing retired planes, staffing inconsistency is a major factor driving up fares. The supply of flights has not kept up with demand for flights.
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Finally, there’s one key figure that will help you understand why flight prices seem so high right now: the cost of fuel is so high.
After labor, fuel is an airline’s second-biggest expense. And that’s not a good trend for airlines. Time and again, we hear CEOs of major airlines promise to pay for jet fuel to consumers. pandemic? Ticket prices must increase.
“Higher fuel prices lead to higher airfares,” United CEO Scott Kirby told CNBC’s Squawk on the Road in 2021. “Ultimately, we’ll make it through.”
At the end of the day, supply and demand will ultimately prevail in these situations. However, the high fares you are seeing may have something to do with how expensive airlines are to fuel their planes.
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If prices are up 25% from last year, will they go back to Earth? Or will the price of flights go up every quarter every year until we invent teleportation and stop flying altogether?
While it is difficult to accurately predict a price drop, recent data trends suggest we are on the right track.
Airfares in January 2023 actually decreased by 1.4% compared to the previous month. In that month, December 2022, is actually 2.1% cheaper than the November average. And November is also 1.6% cheaper on average than October. So we can is on the right track, even if that doesn’t always make sense.
In addition, according to data from the Group of American Airlines, compared to pre-pandemic fares in 2019, it seems likely that flight prices will peak in May 2022.
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So May 2022 is the worst? Or will we go back to higher airfares in 2023? The next few months will answer.
But there’s one reason we’re optimistic about flight prices falling in 2023: competition. If supply and demand are the principles behind ticket prices, then competition between airlines is a game changer.
The airline industry is fierce. Every year we see new players join and drop out of the game and all those airlines – old and new – are constantly targeting their competitors, offering cheap prices to lower their prices. with the hope of winning more customers.
The link between competition and price here is undeniable. Delta’s low fares to Greece are aimed at American Airlines’ Miami (MIA) territory, offering customers of rivals fares in exchange for connections in New York City (JFK).
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But more importantly, big companies like Delta, American, and United are no longer fighting each other. With business travel not 100% returning and leisure travel booming, even the biggest airlines have to compete with low-cost carriers like Spirit, Frontier, Sun Country and newcomers. join as Avelo and Breeze. It’s a recipe for lower fares in the near future.
Abroad, low-cost carriers like PLAY Airlines and Norse Atlantic have helped drive surprisingly low-cost flights to Europe – round-trip rates under $300 (or less).
For example, when Norse Atlantic launched, it offered cheap flights to Oslo (OSL). So what did Delta and its partner airlines, Air France and KLM, do? They fit it.
Of course, you can hunt for cheap flights on these low-cost airlines. But they also force major airlines such as Delta, American, United and their international partners to compete on price. And that’s a win for consumers.
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For now, we’re still looking for some cheap fares to Europe, although none are very difficult. The future of low-cost flights offers strong competition.
The bottom line: Average flight prices are down, though not significantly, and extremely cheap flights remain. You may find some fares are more expensive on the specific flights you’re looking for, but healthy competition means we’re on the right track overall.
See high fares almost everywhere you look? You’re not alone. But trust us: cheap flight deals are still available.
Finding cheap flights is what we do at Thrifty Traveler. We search for the lowest prices in the world, eliminate expensive fares, and deliver the best deals to Thrifty Traveler Premium (and Thrifty Traveler Premium+) members. This is a small sample.
Why Are Flights So Expensive Right Now?
While a quick domestic flight can cost you $500 or more, we’ve seen airfares to Hawaii from around the country drop to less than $309 round-trip – or under $200 from the West Coast!
Looking at flights to Europe for $1,200 and up might seem like the norm… but it’s not. If you time it right, you can go
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