Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Nov. 30, 2022

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Airfares hit highest level in years despite decreasing fuel prices


LOS ANGELES — Jet fuel prices have been dropping since May, and the nation’s airlines now have more workers on staff than before the pandemic.

So Americans preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas travel should expect lower airfares and fewer delays and cancellations, right?

Don’t get your hopes up.

Ticket prices for domestic and international flights scheduled around the Thanksgiving holiday are trending 22 percent higher than at the same time in 2019, with Christmas flights up even more, according to the travel site Hopper. They are the highest fares in about five years.

Another travel site,, has a different set of numbers with the same message: Air travel will be pricey this holiday season. Airline prices for Thanksgiving are about 25 percent above 2021 levels, and fares for flights for Christmas and New Years are up 28 percent, said in its annual holiday travel report.

“This year, is anticipating a busy holiday season with high prices, and recommends that travelers shop earlier than they might have pre-pandemic,” said Jeff Klee, the company’s chief executive.

A big factor in airfares is jet fuel prices, which represent about 30 percent of airlines’ expenses. Jet fuel prices nearly doubled in April and May, partly because of the instability in the oil market caused by the Russian war in Ukraine. Since then, jet fuel prices have been dropping, sliding 14 percent in the last month, temporarily pushing airfares down, industry experts say.

Despite the drop in fuel prices, however, airfares are on the rise because demand for air travel is surging. Many industry experts describe it as “revenge travel” because Americans are trying to make up for the travel they missed during the pandemic lockdowns. The number of passengers passing through the nation’s airports in the last week is about 30 percent above the same period last year, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

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