Flight prices are rising — here's how to find deals
This summer’s big resurgence in air travel has hit some turbulence in the form of rapidly rising flight prices.
“Flying” the news: After years stuck at home due to the pandemic, people are ready to board a plane again.
- But with domestic demand high, those cheap last-minute pandemic flights might seem like a thing of the past.
- The average price of a round-trip domestic ticket has jumped more than $200 since January, to $628 in May, according to data from Airlines Reporting Corp.
Flashback: At the same time last year, the average fare would set you back $432. Even in 2019, it was $511.
Yes, but: If you’re flexible, you can still get a flight for a reasonable price, said Kyle Potter, executive editor of travel deals site Thrifty Traveler.
- Destinations like Phoenix, New York City, Miami and Chicago often have flights under $200, especially if you’re booking for late August and early September.
Here are some of Potter's travel tips:
Think bigger. It’s a great time to look abroad. COVID-19 restrictions made many travelers reluctant to head outside the country, but prices are now cheaper than ever.
- A flight to Capetown, South Africa that was typically $1,500 is now $600; flights to Iceland can be as low as $500.
Book smarter. Travelers don’t need to clear computer browser cookies, book at certain times of day or learn any fancy trick to get the best price.
- But prices will likely be lower on off-peak days like Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Check your credit card for discounts and built-in travel insurance.
Be savvy. Budget airline prices may seem like a steal. But they might not actually save you money if you need to purchase bags or insurance.
- Cancellations and delays are also increasingly common. Book the earliest flight possible to give you more wiggle room, avoid flights with connections and “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” Potter added.
My thought bubble: I bought a $243 Delta economy flight to Las Vegas in September 2021, only three days in advance. I decided to skip this year’s trip when I saw that the same flight starts at $428.
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