Airfares for less than $300? ‘Start monitoring those prices now’ for holiday travel
Relief is on the horizon for air travelers in the U.S.
New data from Hopper, the online booking platform, suggests airfares should decrease from this summer’s record-high prices, averaging less than $300 round-trip for domestic itineraries booked this month.
“Domestic airfare this fall will drop to $286 this August, down 25% compared to the airfare peak in May of this year, in line with 2019 prices,” the firm said in its third-quarter travel index. “Airfare will remain at or below $300 through late September, before beginning to rise slowly in October and November.”
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Hayley Berg, Hopper’s lead economist and author of the report, explained that the numbers are based on the booking date and mostly reflect what passengers can expect to pay in the next few months.
“For travelers who are thinking about going on a trip, I would say it’s a very good time to decide to go on that trip. Fares will be the lowest for the next couple of weeks that they will be until January,” she told USA TODAY.
What’s going on with airfares this summer and fall?
Ticket prices peaked in May, according to Hopper, reflecting a surge in demand for travel as more Americans felt ready to take to the skies again. At the same time, airlines struggled to match smaller fleets and leaner staffs to the number of passengers who wanted to travel.
Domestic round-trip airfares peaked at an average of $410 in May, Berg said – the highest level since Hopper started tracking prices in 2014.
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But the next few months are set to offer travelers some relief. Demand for flights tends to hit a lull between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, which means cheaper tickets should be available. It also gives airlines time to catch their breath ahead of the winter holidays.
“What we’re seeing now is more of a normalization,” Berg said in an interview, and added in her report that “the drop this year is larger than usual as a result of the abnormally high summer prices and an earlier peak in demand.”
Where are ticket prices headed for the holidays?
As travel demand recovers from the pandemic, so does its regular demand seasonality. So these low ticket prices aren’t exactly here to stay.
Airfare is expected to “average $368 per ticket in December. With daily airfare peaking over $390 for last-minute holiday bookings,” Hopper’s report said.
“For those travelers who are thinking about booking. Whether you plan to travel in September or October or you’re planning your trip home to family. Start monitoring those prices now,” Berg said. “We see a lot of last-minute planning and booking for the holidays when really the best prices are available in September and early October.”
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How do airlines set their fares?
Many variables go into determining airfares. Some of the biggest factors include traveler demand and fuel prices.
“Demand for flights continues to grow compared to earlier this year. But growth has slowed as much of the pent-up demand post-COVID was exhausted with summer vacations. The slowing in demand growth is a seasonal fixture at this time of year. And will pick back up in October and November as travelers search for and book their holiday travel.” Hopper said in its writeup, adding, “as jet fuel prices remain elevated. Airlines will be pressured to maintain higher airfares, and lower overall capacity to offset the increase in costs.”
When & Why Do Flight Prices Drop?
All things considered, perhaps the most intriguing question in the world is: when will airline ticket costs go down?
It’s possible that prices will fluctuate in a few days. It may be $150 one day and much, much more the next. But why?
How long do you have to wait for a price drop?
We’ll show you how airlines calculate their flight prices, and we’ve compiled some broad pricing trends based on historical data so you can locate the cheapest fares using our data nerds.
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How do airlines price their tickets?
Airlines want to make sure that consumers may afford to fly with them, so they offer reasonable rates. They must also strike a balance between (a) ensuring that a flight is completely full and (b) making enough money to cover all of the expenses associated with running the trip.
As a result, ticket costs will fluctuate frequently based on a variety of criteria that are unique to each flight. The following are some examples:
How long until the cheapest fare appears?
Of course, this is determined by a slew of various and ever-changing criteria, such as how well the particular flight or route is selling. We’re big fans of flight price data analysis at Skyscanner, so we crunched some numbers and discovered a few trends that should assist you in getting the best possible price for your vacation.
When is it the worst time to purchase airline tickets?
Our research shows that airfare prices have a weekly rhythm. The cheapest fares are typically offered early in the week, and the most expensive fares are provided later in the week.
When do airfares prices fall during the week?
According to our research, Tuesday. Monday nights appear to be the best day for airlines to offer discounts, so you may get the greatest prices on Tuesday mornings. Typically, you’ll save between 15 and 25 percent.
Which is the most cost-effective day of the week to fly?
The cost of a ticket is based on when and where you travel, so keep that in mind. In general, midweek flights are more expensive than weekends or Mondays since they take off and land during the week. So choose Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays as your target days.
What signals might you be looking for to determine when flight rates drop?
OK, so suppose you have to book your trip closer to the flight date than we’ve suggested? Don’t be alarmed. Our Skyscanner Price Alert service is here to help. And in more wonderful news, it’s completely free.
Because we maintain real-time track on our own software, we can notify you when prices on the flights you choose alter.
This means that while you’re planning your holiday, we’ll tell you when the price increases and decreases so you can plan accordingly (and avoid a budget-busting disaster).
There are a variety of reasons why flight prices may drop. Sometimes it could be because the airline needs to fill seats on a certain route for which they have lowered the price, or there might be an industry-wide sale being offered. Seasonality can also play a role in pricing, with flights during high-demand periods (e.g. summertime) generally being more expensive than those during low-demand periods (e.g. winter).