Air travel cost is rising, but it’s not because of gas prices

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(NewsNation) — Sticker shock might come into play for some people trying to book a plane ticket for last-minute spring break trips or summer getaways this year.

It’s not because of rising fuel costs, but simply that more people want to travel, airlines say.

“We’re seeing insane demand right now for travel,” Clint Henderson, editor-in-chief of The Points Guy, a travel website and blog, said. “That surge in demand is driving up airfare.Data shows what would normally be a $200 ticket on Delta during this time of year is now about $10-15 dollars more expensive.”

That’s nearly 10% more than what Delta Air Lines planned to charge this season. Prices have steadily gone up by 7 to 8% a month for the past several months, even before the fuel crisis sparked by inflation and the Russia-Ukraine War.

“I think higher prices are coming,” Henderson said. “They’re already here and we’re only going to see more of it as we go on to peak demand and summertime.”

At a JPMorgan investor conference Tuesday, Delta President Glen Hauenstein called the demand unprecedented.

“It’s really been the strong demand and better pricing environment that has allowed us to more than offset the fuel cost,” Hauenstein said.

Executives from both Delta and American Airlines said they had record bookings last week, and hope to return to profitability this fiscal year —something that hasn’t happened since 2019. 

However, if fuel prices get more expensive, Henderson warns airlines will have to adjust.

“We will see that passed on to consumers in some form or fashion, whether that’s a direct correlation to ticket prices, or you see additional fuel surcharges, where they come up with some kind of creative new fee to charge you that they say is for your service,” Henderson said.

Those wanting to explore other places without breaking the bank should book trips now, Henderson said. Another tip: Now’s the time to use points or miles that may have been hoarded during the pandemic. Henderson said the value of these will decrease as the price of tickets goes up.

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