ATLANTA — Planning a summer trip will cost more than just a month ago, and those waiting longer to book could pay even more.
Average airfare in the US went up 5.2% in March, the third-largest one-month jump since 1999.
“Travelers have been even more eager to get back on the road, get back on planes far quicker than most analysts expected," Scott Keyes, founder of Scott's Cheap Flights, said
Keyes said that demand coupled with high fuel costs leads to significant increases in ticket prices.
“You see a lot of people really kind of freaking out about the cost of flights,” he said. "But what I think a lot of that discussion misses is the fact that despite the jump in average airfare, cheap flights are still extraordinarily plentiful."
It’s all about knowing how to find them.
“Take the normal way that you search for flights and actually flip it on its head," Keyes suggests.
That means flexibility will be your best friend.
Travelers can use the "explore destinations" link to set your home airport of Atlanta on Google Flights, the month you’d prefer to travel, and the length of your trip.
Dozens of round trip flights under $100 are available from Hartsfield Jackson to locations across the country. Keyes said there are plenty of deals to be had on international travel.
“Just in the past week we've seen roundtrip flights from Atlanta down to Brazil for $437," he said. "Costa Rica for $194, or Paris for $500.”
If travelers have a specific place they want or need to go – turn on price tracking, and time it right.
“The best way to get the timing right for cheap flights is to use this strategy called goldilocks windows," Keyes said. "If you're traveling domestically, the goldilocks window for when cheap flights are most likely to pop up is about one to three months in advance. For international travel, about two to eight months.”
Those who are hesitant to commit – know that airlines are offering some easy-outs in the fine print.
“One of the best changes that the airlines made in their policies over the past two years was to quietly get rid of change fees," Keyes said. "You can actually change your travel date after you book without having to pay any penalty whatsoever. If the new dates are cheaper, which they often are, you actually you will get the difference back in the form of a travel credit.”
In their quarterly report released in late March 2022, travel company Hopper foresees travel prices increasing to an average of $360 per ticket in May, then tapering off once the summer season officially starts in June. International round-trip prices will stay relatively stable until June when Hopper predicts they will rise 15%.
They found Houston, TX, Chicago, IL, and Atlanta, GA were the highest trending domestic destinations for the late spring/early summer.
A Delta Airlines spokesperson told 11Alive that they continually add flights to meet demand.
System-wide, Delta has increased its average number of daily flights from 4,090 in February to 4,390 in April. In Atlanta, the airline has increased from 695 daily flights on average to 745 in the same timeframe.