Fares for air travelers are finally being reduced.
DALLAS, Texas (AP) — Travelers got some good news in the government’s inflation report on Wednesday: airfares are falling faster.
According to the government, the average airline ticket price fell 7.8% in July to $311, following a 1.8% drop in June.
Lower gasoline and travel prices were major reasons that overall inflation slowed slightly in July, though consumer prices were still up 8.5% year on year.
However, before splurging on a luxurious vacation, travelers should be aware that the average ticket price in July was still 27.7% higher than in July of last year.
Airlines have been able to raise fares because demand — at least among leisure travelers — is matching or exceeding pre-pandemic levels even though airlines are operating fewer flights. The airlines also point to rising fuel prices, which have nearly doubled since 2019.
Fares peaked in May when summer vacation sales were in full swing.
Prices typically fall in late summer and early autumn, when vacations end and children return to school. However, this year’s drop is expected to be more dramatic than usual. This is due in part to the high summer prices, but also to the fact that the cost of jet fuel has dropped by one-fourth since late April.
Domestic U.S. fares are expected to average $286 in August and stay at or below $300 until October when many people book Thanksgiving and Christmas travel and demand begins to push prices back up.
It’s unclear whether inflation and a potential recession will affect people’s willingness to travel.
Spirit Airlines’ chief commercial officer, Matthew Klein, stated on Wednesday that bookings remain strong and that any decrease in fares will follow the normal seasonal pattern, which he described as good news for airline revenue.
Spirit executives questioned whether demand “would simply fall off a cliff after Labor Day and beyond, and we are not seeing that right now,” according to Klein. We continue to be very impressed with the volume that is coming in.”
Similar remarks have recently been made by officials from other carriers.
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