SEATTLE — Looking to take off? You might want to take a look at the cost of airfare. Surging demand has led to increased prices and fewer flight options.
Travel company Hopper said for Summer 2022, prices are up 34% compared to pre-pandemic. Hopper's Summer 2022 Travel Guide says demand, fewer flights and jet fuel prices have led to the highest price for summer travel in at least the last five years.
"You've got this huge ramped up demand, a supply problem, on top of a staffing problem and trying to make up for lost ground financially,” said Mike Estill, chief operating officer of the Western Association of Travel Agents. “So, it's almost a perfect storm.”
Estill expects fares to remain high at least into next year. He said prices are all based on demand.
"I can find you a ticket to Paris for $250, [but] a ticket to Medford for $900,” said Estill. “How does that work?"
Like other industries, airlines are working to catch up by hiring staff and re-introducing flights.
"There's this whole recertification process that goes on with the airplane itself," explained Estill.
Estill recommends people book early, look for deals and, if possible, be flexible. Taking off to visit a new place might be your best chance at catching an affordable flight.
“Find a place you've never been before and go check out something new. Don't go where everyone else is going," said Estill.