Airfares surging as holidays approach

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CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — You’ve heard by now that grocery and gas prices are rising, but they’ve got nothing on airfares, which have been rising at 3-5 percent per day. That trend is expected to last into 2022, signaling that the airline industry is coming out of the pandemic slump and finding a flying public willing to pay just about anything to get where they want to go.

“Morning in America’s” resident travel expert, Peter Greenberg, says that continued staffing difficulties combined with skyrocketing jet fuel prices are two of the motivators behind the high fares. Greenberg said that by February 2022, fuel prices might be 100% higher than the same time a year ago.

With the U.S. opening the travel lanes to vaccinated tourists from foreign countries, the competition for seats on flights has gotten even more intense, with thousands of travelers from abroad added into the already overburdened system.

Greenberg said that current passenger volume was only 6 percent lower than the same time in 2019, with fewer planes in the air. By next week, he expects the volume to surpass pre-pandemic levels.

There are still some deals to be found on discount sites like Kayak, TripAdvisor and Priceline, Greenberg said, but be careful about buying the lowest-price economy tickets. Those are use-or-lose, so if you have to cancel you simply lose the money spent. He said the next fare class up is usually only about $30 more, and offers flexibility.

When asked by “Morning in America” host Adrienne Bankert about the move by United Airlines to join other legacy carriers in resuming sales of hard liquor aboard planes, Greenberg said it’s inevitable since the sales are a revenue stream for the airlines, but he’s not in favor of it.

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