High airline ticket prices and fewer flights have left some students scrambling to book flights for Thanksgiving and winter break.
Airlines have cut the number of flights scheduled for the fall after labor shortages and weather led to thousands of cancellations and delays over the summer. Fort Worth-based American Airlines cut November flights by 16 percent, or 31,000 flights.
“I am usually a last-minute person when it comes to travel, but I heard about the airline prices going up and decided to see how much it would cost for me to fly home to Arizona,” said Emily Pawluck, a senior political science major. “I was shocked to find that on a budget airline it would cost me $600 round trip.”
The average airfare was $328.49 in the first quarter of 2022, versus $280.93 in inflation-adjusted dollars in the first quarter of 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Sunday is the most expensive day to fly. Flying on Monday instead of the weekend could save travelers up to $100.
“The earlier the better when it comes to booking airfare for the holidays,” said Melissa Klurman, a travel reporter with The Points Guy. “If you can book mid-September to mid-October you’ll get the best rates, and the best availability. Airlines are already cutting schedules for November and December to avoid a repeat of the chaotic summer travel we all just experienced, so don’t delay booking flights.”
In 2022, 88,161 flights were cancelled through May according to federal transformation officials.
“For Thanksgiving travel, try to book flights that depart Monday for the best fares,” Klurman said. “And a good rule of thumb is to lock in your Thanksgiving travel plans before Halloween. For Christmas you’ll want to book before Thanksgiving, but ideally by early November.”