(NewsNation) — Domestic flight bookings for Thanksgiving are down 7% this year, compared to before the pandemic, new data from Adobe Analytics found, but spending is still up 3%, showing just how high fares have gotten.
Domestic flight bookings have also decreased, by 17%, compared to this point in 2019 for Christmas travel.
According to Adobe Analytics, the slowdown in bookings indicates customers are waiting to see if prices come down, or that they may be using different forms of transportation. Travel-booking website Hopper says Thanksgiving ticket prices are currently an average of $281 for a round trip, up 25% from last year, while Christmas airfare prices are expected to be higher than in the past five years.
“Prices are going to continue to increase the closer we get to Thanksgiving, and then again, the closer that we get to the holidays,” travel expert Sandra McLemore said on “Morning in America.” “What I think that we’ll see is people trying to snag last-minute deals, but I just don’t think they’re going to be lucky enough to do that this year.”
Despite bookings not being as high as they were last year, McLemore expects flights to still be full.
“If flights are not full right now, it’s because people haven’t yet booked, and they might be holding out for a deal,” she said. “I really don’t think we’re going to see less people in the airport.”
To beat the lines, McLemore suggested traveling with a carry-on bag only, using an air tag to help locate your suitcase, and showing up early.
“If you haven’t yet booked (a flight), book quickly and try to book the first flight of the day,” she said. “You have less chances of your flight being delayed if you’re on the first one with as few layovers or stops as possible.”