Airfares are up 24% in the past

Airfares are up 24% in the past ...

Travelers are eager to return home after two years of staying there, but they are paying a hefty price to do so.

According to the Consumer Price Index, consumer prices rose by another 8.5 percent last month when compared prices to last year. This was the greatest increase on record since May 1981.

According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, more than half of the price increase came from a gasoline rise in March, which increased by 3.4 percent. Gas prices and increased demand pushed airline prices far beyond what they were in 2019.

Flight prices were 20% higher than expected in March, according to the March report.

Digital Analytics Analytics provides an overview of online spending, booking activity, and pricing trends, as well as leading destinations in the United States. Data comes from measuring direct consumer transactions from six of the top ten airlines in the United States, and over 150 billion web visits.

When comparing previous months, March's prices were 5% higher than pre-pandemic levels, and January prices were 3% lower, according to Adobe.

Consumers aren't just eager to go away, but they're also ill-equipped, according to Jessica Gray, a travel consultant and owner of Dream Vacation.

"They're just tired of COVID and they're paying the prices," she said. The demand is so high that the suppliers will only continue to hike their prices.

The spring break has prompted more than 150,000 guests to travel through the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids. The airport had a 65 percent increase in travelers as compared to 2021.

The Detroit Metropolitan Airport hasn't released March data, but the airport's February travel indicated a 666.5% increase in total travelers year over year.

According to Transportation Security Administration (TSA), roughly 89 percent of air travel has been recovered after the epidemic caused a major drop in travel projections.

The results for Adobe's Memorial Day weekend bookings did not have the same increase, but is aiming to summer travel, which has already demonstrated a 8% increase in dollars and a 3% increase in domestic travel respectively.

Demand is kicking the needle on prices. Despite the price fluctuations, people are expanding their travel budget, according to Ellyn Plaszczak Jones, president of Sea Land Air Travel.

"People are willing to pay more," she said. "They say, "We haven't gone anywhere in two years so we will do this once we still have time to travel."

While prices are still outstriping demand, Adobe reports suggest inflation is driving up ticket prices. While the online spending in March was 28% higher than pre-pandemic rates, bookings only increased 12%.

Prices increased by 32% in March, but demand slowed by only 15%.

Air tickets are listed by the Consumer Price Index as a major contributor to inflation of 8.5 percent this month. Compared to last year, airfare prices increased by more than 24 percent.

Plaszczak Jones added that ticket prices to destinations still accepting travelers last year, like Mexico and the Caribbean Islands, were declining.

They were just dirt cheap, she said. Some people really got spoiled on that expecting to see those costs again, which isn't going to happen.

Airline prices aren't predicted to fall anytime soon.

Delta Airlines is pointing the finger towards gas and wage price rises. According to its earnings statement, the airline said its gasoline rate in the March quarter was 33% higher than a quarter ago and is expected to increase by at least 15% in the three months to end-June.

Gray's advice to travelers is to plan the trip right now. She adds that getting a trip is even more important following the impact of travel refunds in 2020. Travel agents say travel insurance has become a much easier sell even for consumers on a budget.

You'll always get travel insurance, that's another significant recommendation, she said. Travel insurance and book early, because you'll get the best pricing and money.

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