The Daily Mail reported that several travelers blasted airlines for exorbitant air fare. One traveler deemed the current rate "unacceptable," while another slammed "atrocious" airlines for charging high prices to people who simply wished to spend the holidays with their loved ones.
The incensed travelers had strong reasons to be angry. A recent study by finance technology firm SmartAsset discovered that average domestic airline fares were increasing fast, reaching price levels not seen since 2014.
It added that people flying out from certain airports were affected worse than others. The exorbitant price increases have been seen on flights out of Pensacola International Airport in Florida, Fresno Yosemite International Airport in California and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington.
Moreover, government data showed an increase in October 2022 travel fares went up by 43 percent compared to the previous year. American air carriers reported a joint profit of more than $2.4 billion in the third quarter of 2022, rubbing salt into the wound.
Thus, people who are looking to book trips to visit their family or take a long vacation during the holiday break need to prepare for expensive fares – with the Mail citing several examples.
Coast-to-coast direct return flights between New York City and Los Angeles, often costing between $300 and $400 off-season, sell for more than $1,000 for the Christmas season. A flight from San Francisco to Oklahoma City, meanwhile, costs $800 during Thanksgiving season. (Related: Increased demand and inflated oil prices cause airfares to surge by nearly 50%.)
"Fewer flights and more people looking to head home or take a vacation for the holidays means two things: Prices will be higher, and we will see flights sell out for both holidays," said Holly Berg, chief economist for travel data provider Hopper.
Aside from airfare, rates for lodging also soared heading into the holidays. Trivago CEO Axel Hefer said the higher nightly rates for hotels has led to some Europe-bound travelers booking shorter trips.
"Hotel prices are up absolutely everywhere," he remarked. "If you have the same budget or even a lower budget through inflation, and you still want to travel, you just cut out a day."
Aside from higher room rates, hotels are also struggling with labor shortages. Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel recounted one hotelier informing him of their inability to fill all their rooms due to the lack of personnel.
Meanwhile, prices for car rentals increased – albeit not as high as the increases seen in 2021 when some well-known locations ran out of vehicles. Nevertheless, the availability of vehicles is stiff because the price of new cars has stopped rental companies from fully rebuilding fleets that they collected early in the pandemic.
American consumers are confronting the highest inflation in four decades, and there is rising concern about a possible recession. This does not reflect in travel numbers, however.
Figures for October 2022 released by the Transportation Security Administration stated that the number of travelers passing through airport checkpoints has returned to almost 95 percent of 2019 traffic. Travel industry officials said holiday travel might surpass pre-pandemic levels.
Watch Gabor "Gabe" Zolna explain why United Airlines and Spirit Airlines, two U.S. air carriers, offered to triple their pilots' salaries.
This video is from the zolnareport.com channel on Brighteon.com.