WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Airfare is up just in time for Memorial Day planning and the summer.
Prices are up 15% to 30% from 2019, according to some analysts. Some say it’s supply and demand.
“More people are flying,” said aviation analyst Dean Headley. “Definitely. Pre-pandemic 2019, about 750 million people flew domestically inside the United States. In 2020 that was 295 million. In 2021 that was 541 million, so they’re coming back.”
Another issue with prices on the rise, along with full flights, is a pilot shortage.
“It’s just hitting all the airlines,” said Headley. “They have plenty of airplanes. They don’t have anybody that can fly them. Takes months and years for a pilot to be trained enough to fly the commercial routes. Three or four years before full staff.”
Memorial Day weekend will see price hikes, not just in the air.
“So the highways will definitely be congested and a lot of people driving despite the high gas prices,” said Shawn Steward with AAA of Kansas. “We’ve been told by consumers that we’ve surveyed recently that most people still plan to take their summer vacations this year, and they may just look for other ways to save money, such as maybe staying in less expensive hotels or looking for less expensive or free attractions.”
If you are looking to fly, the experts say book sooner rather than later. Prices are not anticipated to go down this spring or summer.
“People want to fly, and there’s a lot of demand,” said Headley.