Making ends meet: How inflation is impacting air travel

Published: June 16, 2022 4:34 PM EDT
Updated: June 16, 2022 6:16 PM EDT

Catching a flight this summer is going to burn a hole in your wallet.

Plane ticket costs are up 25% compared to a year ago, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It took Moe Bodnar 26 hours to get to Fort Myers from Ontario, Canada.

It should have taken only six, but a series of canceled flights that led to missed connections took an entire day out of his weeklong beach vacation.

“I’m by myself here. I didn’t know where I would wind up,” Bodnar said. “I wound up in Houston.”

Now, he is trying to extend his time in Southwest Florida, but he knows it is going to be pricey.

“I’ll maybe have to pay extra for but I’m just about ready to,” Bodnar said.

Last May, the average price for a flight about $244, according to the U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistics.

Now it’s nearly $336, nearly a $100 difference.

FGCU economist Victor Claar said airlines are still struggling to hire employees to meet traveler demand.

“I think we all have seen that all of the major carriers have cut back flights. So, if you look at the number of seats available on any given week anywhere, it’s smaller than it used to be,” Claar said.

And fewer seats means you will pay more. Plus, planes need gas too.

“If it’s more expensive to deliver gasoline it also means that it is more expensive to deliver jet fuel. As the price of gasoline rises and it’s going to make jet fuel even more expensive for you regardless of whether you are flying or driving, those oil prices are going to hit you either way,” Claar said.

To find some relief:

  • Use apps like Hopper and Google Flights to keep track of flight prices.
  • Book early and be flexible.
  • Domestic flights on Tuesdays tend to be cheaper than weekend flights.
  • Look to see if two one-ways are cheaper than a round trip.
  • You might also be able to save money by flying on different airlines each way.