Consumers planning to fly this holiday season are being advised to act soon and be prepared for sticker shock.
Airline executives say they expect huge demand for flights over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, while travel experts say pretty much all the best deals for airfares and hotels have already been snapped up.
The warnings are coming as government data shows that airfares in October had increased by 43% from a year earlier, partly because airlines are still offering fewer flights—84% as many as in October 2019—despite passenger levels being back nearly to pre-pandemic levels.
Meanwhile, U.S. airlines reported a combined profit of more than $2.4 billion in the third quarter.
Travelers shouldn’t expect a break on lodging, either. According to Axel Hefer, CEO of hotel-search company Trivago, “Hotel prices are up absolutely everywhere” as that industry continues to struggle with labor shortages.
Rates for car rentals aren’t as sky-high as they were during much of 2021 when the pandemic led to a mass shortage of vehicles. However, U.S. consumers are still facing the highest inflation in 40 years.
That said, AAA on Monday reported the national average cost for gas was flat at $3.77 a gallon as oil prices trend downward.