Flight prices are expected to drop significantly in August and into the early fall following a very busy — and expensive — summer travel season.
According to Hopper, domestic airfare is expected to drop 25% in August, compared to its peak in May of this year. In fact, the average airfare price will decrease to $286 this month, or 3% lower than this time last year, and remain at or below $300 through September.
The decrease is attributed to several factors, including a drop in demand after Hopper said many people “exhausted” the pent up post-pandemic travel demand with summer vacations.
“Flight prices drop seasonally in late August through mid October, as demand tapers off following the peak vacation months in May, June and July,” Hopper wrote in its findings. “The drop this year is larger than usual as a result of the abnormally high summer prices and earlier peak in demand.”
While flight prices may be dropping, factors like US Gulf Coast jet fuel prices — which Hopper said remain 80% higher than 2019 and 90% higher than 2021 — will continue to impact the bottom line.
Airfare is then expected to start to rise again in October and November. By December, average prices are forecast to hit $368 per ticket and then peak at over $390 for last-minute holiday bookings. Domestic airfare prices are expected to drop once again in January and average $280 per ticket.
Hotel prices are also expected to decrease “slightly” over August before rising again in September and October. Currently, nightly hotel rates are coming in at $185 on average.
Prices may be dropping, but delays and cancellations continue to plague airlines. In the past two weeks, delay rates rose to 25% of departures, according to Hopper.
This summer, airlines have canceled flights in droves with several preemptively slashing their schedules to avoid further disruptions, blaming the chaos on a combination of air traffic control problems and staffing shortages. Even in the United Kingdom, London’s Heathrow Airport was forced to implement a cap on passenger capacity just to keep up.
United Airlines’ CEO has said air travel will gradually improve over the next 12 months, but won’t be back to normal until next summer.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.