Why flight prices are so high and summer 2022 travel is chaotic

“Be more patient.”

That’s one of the pieces of advice from David Pekoske, head of the Transportation Security Administration, when he was asked about the upcoming summer travel season.

Vacationers face a perfect storm this summer. People are venturing again, many for their first real summer break since 2019, while airlines have yet to replace all the staff they lost during the pandemic, resulting in delays. delays and cancellations.

Along with high travel demand, fuel prices are pushing airfares this summer to their highest levels in more than five years, according to Hopper, an online travel website that analyzes prices.

“It’s going to be crowded and very expensive,” said Brett Keller, executive director of travel website Priceline.

His advice: Book early, consider flying to smaller, less crowded airports in the area, and be flexible with the dates you plan to travel.

Here are six charts, using travel and other data, that help explain why flights are so expensive right now – and why we’re having a tumultuous summer travel season .

Fuel and wages are two of the biggest expenses for airlines. The price of jet fuel this summer is almost double what it was several summers ago.

And demand for air travel is on the rise: Travelers in the summer will experience the kind of crowds not seen since 2019, before the pandemic and traffic congestion hit travel.

Pekoske, the TSA administrator, said the agency expected more than 3 million travelers to pass through US airports on at least one of the busiest days this summer, surpassing a record 2,00. 8 million visits per day in 2019.

Results for the average traveler this summer: Fares for June-August flights are 47 percent higher than in 2021 and 34 percent higher than in the same period in 2019.

Hotel prices in April were more than double what they were two years earlier and are expected to remain high through the summer.

The increase in travel demand comes as airlines struggle to return staff to the level of full employment they had before the pandemic. Many former airline employees have been laid off to find less stressful and better-paying work, industry experts say.

Bad weather and the coronavirus outbreak were responsible for the spike in cancellations in January, and experts say more cancellations are expected during the summer travel season.

Keller warned that without adequate staffing, airlines “don’t have much of an ecosystem delay” to add replacement pilots, flight attendants or mechanics in the event of a major storm or mechanical breakdown needs extra help.

John Jimenez, a facility maintenance worker in San Jose, is thinking of bringing his wife and two children to Phoenix in August to see his newborn grandchild until he calculates the total price of a plane ticket for four. : more than 1,000 dollars.

Before the pandemic, he was paying about $115 per person for round trip – half the current fare.

“I don’t see myself spending that much on a quick trip,” he said, adding that driving to Phoenix will also hurt your wallet because of the soaring gas prices.

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2022-05-26/flights-ticket-prices-airfare-expensive-summer-travel Why flight prices are so high and summer 2022 travel is chaotic

Edmund DeMarche

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