US flight prices surged in March: analysis
Last month’s domestic flight prices were 20 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to data released Tuesday.
The analysis from Adobe Digital Insights reveals that travelers are already experiencing significant price hikes. In February, flight prices were only up 5 percent from the same period in 2019, while January prices were 3 percent lower than pre-pandemic levels.
The uptick is driven by a recent boom in bookings that coincided with low COVID-19 case counts. The analysis found that customers spent $8.8 billion on tickets online last month, a 28 percent increase from pre-pandemic levels and a 32 percent increase from February.
“The unleash of pent-up demand has been a major driving factor, as the desire for air travel is coming back more aggressively than anticipated,” Adobe Digital Insights lead analyst Vivek Pandya said in a statement.
Experts have advised travelers to book their flights soon, warning that prices will only rise further as demand outpaces supply. Major airlines already weren’t seating as many passengers as they were before the pandemic, and they’ve recently cut down on their schedules to account for higher fuel prices.
The cost of jet fuel in North America rose by 30 percent over the last month and is up 158 percent from one year ago, according to data from S&P Global. Prices spiked following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and remained elevated in recent weeks, even as the price of crude oil dropped.
Another analysis from flight booking website Hopper released last week found that domestic flight prices have increased by 40 percent since the start of the year and are expected to rise another 10 percent next month.