Holiday season plane tickets could be among the most expensive ever, report says

Travelers looking to get in the air for the upcoming holiday season could face some of the highest airfares ever, according to recent reports.

Prices obtained by NBC News on Saturday from online travel brand Hopper revealed that getting on a plane this winter will cost more. The average round-trip ticket for Thanksgiving is $281, NBC reported, up 25% from last year. People looking to fly over Christmas will pay even more, with the average return ticket being $435, up 55% from 2021.

NBC reported that these were Hopper’s highest average prices in at least five years.

While some may see rising inflation as a key factor in skyrocketing airfares, Hopper noted that another factor is still involved – COVID-19. Hayley Berg, an economist at Hopper, told NBC that there were still only 87% of seats available on the average plane compared to the pre-pandemic period.

“So you’re still missing 15% of the flights and seats that would otherwise take off,” Berg said.

The rising cost of kerosene, due in part to oil constraints due to the war in Ukraine, also plays a key role in ticket prices.

“For airlines, the cost of flying each seat is higher than ever, and for consumers, there are fewer seats available for purchase and each one is going to be more expensive,” Berg said.

According to experts, the best way to avoid these high prices is to book the plane ticket as early as possible and keep a flexible schedule.

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