Hoping to land a cheap plane ticket for a summer trip? Good luck, new inflation data shows

Air fares rose ahead of a summer travel season marked by strong demand and high petrol prices, according to new price inflation data released on Wednesday.

The record increase in the price of airline tickets stood out in a consumer price index report, which showed an overall increase of 0.3% in the cost of living from March to April and an increase of 8.3% year-on-year.

The price of airline tickets rose by 18.6% from March to April. This is the largest monthly increase in spending since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began compiling data, the agency noted.

The next closest month-over-month increase was 10.7% – and that was the increase from February to March this year, the data showed.

Overall, the price of airline tickets rose by 33.3% year-over-year and competed with the high rates of increase last seen in 1980 and 1981. (The strongest year-on-year increase occurred in September 1980 by 45%).

Do not expect travel expenses, like many other expenses, to fall at some point, said Dawit Kebede, senior economist at the Credit Union National Association. “The housing shortage, increased demand for summer travel and supply constraints due to foreclosure in China will make it difficult to lower these prices in the coming months,” Kebede said.

Before Wednesday’s report, travel industry experts said people should be stuck when researching prices these days.

“Higher jet fuel prices, increased demand and lower total capacity compared to 2019 together result in the highest airfare for summer travel in at least 5 years,” wrote Hayley Berg, chief economist at Hopper, a shopping platform. to flights and hotels.

Passengers paid an average of $ 358 in April for domestic flights, an increase of 12% from March, according to Hopper. They paid $ 865 for international return flights, an increase of 8% over the previous month.

Also read: Tips for finding great summer travel deals

CPI figures come as petrol prices return to record highs. After setting new records in March in the midst of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, gas prices hit new highs again on Tuesday – and then again on Wednesday as well. The average price for a gallon of gasoline was $ 4.40 on Wednesday, up 3 cents from the day before, according to AAA.

Like gasoline, jet fuel is more expensive in a choppy crude oil market. Worldwide jet fuel prices have risen 11.6% year-on-year and more than 146% year-on-year, according to an International Association of Aircraft Fuel Price Monitoring for Air Transport. In North America, it is a monthly increase of 4.6% and an annual increase of 178%.

Despite high gasoline prices, many people do not reverse their driving habits, according to some aggregate data. Likewise, many airline passengers may be willing to keep their aircraft despite the higher cost.

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Airlines are expected to transport about 2.4 million travelers each day this summer compared to 2.9 million daily travelers in the 2019 summer season, Berg said.

Traffic figures at Transportation Security Administration’s security checkpoints show the same trend, at least in April. There were more people going through TSA checkpoints in April compared to April 2021 and certainly compared to April 2020. But the levels were still lower than April 2019.

Major airlines say they have expanded and reduced flight schedules to avoid overstretching themselves in the upcoming fast travel season.

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