Hopper forecasts that summer airfares won't be as expensive as last year

Budget domestic airfares are currently up 17% compared to last year and will rise through May, according to the latest forecast from Hopper (No. 11 on Travel Weekly’s 2022 Power List).  

But the forecast has a silver lining for leisure travelers: Hopper predicts that the average roundtrip domestic fare this summer will peak at approximately $50 less than last year. 

“Across the travel industry, airlines and hotels alike have reported continued, surging demand for travel despite increasing economic concerns and inflation,” wrote Hopper economist Hayley Berg. “Despite concerns plaguing the U.S. economy and continued inflation, 80% of Hopper customers planning to travel will spend the same, or more, on travel next year.”

According to the travel app’s Consumer Travel Index, budget roundtrip domestic airfare is averaging $265 this quarter. While that’s nearly a 20% increase from last year, it’s 6% below the 2019 average. 

Hopper defines budget fares as those that are lower than 90% of the fare quotes it tracks.

Ticket prices will creep up to an average of $277 over the course of this month and continue increasing as the busier spring and summer travel seasons approach, Hopper projects. Prices will peak at an average of $348 in May, according to the forecast, and then work their way down to $318 by July. 

During the summer peak last year, budget ticket prices averaged $400. 

Berg wrote that sustained strong travel demand will combine with inflation and continued capacity constraints to keep ticket prices above the prepandemic levels. 

On the cost side, airlines are especially impacted by fuel prices, which are up 51% from last year. Meanwhile, carriers continue to face growth constraints due to a pilot shortage, training backlogs and delayed aircraft deliveries. 
Hopper also expects prices for car rentals, hotels and home rentals to remain above prepandemic levels for most of 2023.

Source: Read Full Article