LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 23: An air passenger hugs as he is picked up amid a long line of passengers waiting for rides after arriving at Terminal 1 at Los Angeles International Airport for the Thanksgiving holiday in Los Angeles on Tuesday, November 3. 23, 2021.
Allen J. Chapin | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
If you’re thinking of traveling over Thanksgiving or Christmas, be prepared to pay.
Fare-tracking Huber said Monday that vacation flights will be the most expensive in five years.
Huber said the average domestic fare for trips during Thanksgiving is $350, and international round-trips are an average of $795 — both representing a 22% increase over 2019, before the pandemic.
Domestic round-trip tickets over Christmas, which falls this weekend, are nearly a third more expensive than in 2019, averaging $463, while international airfares are up 26% to $1,300, according to Huber data.
Traveling during peak demand days, such as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving or the days before Christmas, always commands higher prices. Travel experts recommend flexibility and travel outside of the busiest travel days.
But Brett Snyder, founder of travel website Cranky Flier and former airline manager, warns that it’s hard to find cheap fares any day this holiday season because airlines have improved their control over the number of seats they sell.
“Airlines are much better at this now,” Snyder said. “Now they just take a lot fewer flights on Christmas Day. If it’s cheaper, it’s not that much cheaper.”
Many of the factors that contributed to the chaotic summer of air travel – a shortage of aircraft and staff and a backlog of training – were not immediately mitigated, which will limit future flight capacity. This also means that prices are likely to remain high, although they are already off peak levels for this year.
Hayley Berg, chief economist at Huber, recommends booking flights no later than mid-October, and said, “If you see a good price, even one that seems reasonable to you, we recommend you book.”