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Prospective travelers who want to fly this fall may want to book their plane trips now, with travel app Hopper reporting that airfares are falling this month from peak summer prices.
“September and early October will be the cheapest times to travel, while August and early September will be the cheapest times to book travel for those months,” said Hayley Berg, Hopper’s chief economist.
The app’s End of Summer Travel Index (Q3) claims the average domestic airfare could drop as low as $286 round-trip for bookings made in August. That’s down 25% from May, when average prices hit $400, and is 3% lower than in August last year.
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Airfare typically falls 10% to 15% in any given fall as travel demand slows. “Offering lower airfares in August and September as travelers target fall travel is a seasonal phenomenon, consistent with airlines’ year-round pricing expectations,” Berg said.
But this year’s drop is larger than normal after abnormally high spring and summer prices that resulted from factors such as high jet fuel prices and higher-than-usual demand from a pandemic-weary public, it said. apparently she.
The average airfare for the rest of this year will remain at or below $300 if booked through the end of September before starting to rise again in October and November.
“We look at a weighted average price, so departures in the next two to three months will be weighted the most, [and] most travelers who get low prices in August will travel in September and October,” Berg said, explaining how Hopper determines the best time to shop and fly.
Where to fly… and from
Travelers departing from major US airline hubs should find good deals this month, according to Hopper.
“Many major airports are offering lower fares this fall compared to 2019 for major destinations,” Berg said. “More than 200 to 300 destinations have lower prices this year from Chicago, Washington, DC, Houston and Atlanta.”
From New York, Hopper is seeing what Berg called big insider deals. “We’re seeing airfares to … top destinations up to 27% lower than 2019 prices.” Examples of airfare from New York area airports include:
- Orlando, Florida for $151 (-7.3% vs. 2019)
- Miami for $140 (-27% vs. 2019)
- Las Vegas for $253 (-5% vs. 2019)
Good value international flights from major US hubs include:
- Washington, DC, to Lisbon, Portugal for $423
- Boston to Dublin, Ireland for $452
- Washington, DC, to Copenhagen, Denmark for $518
Do good fares outweigh airport deterioration?
OK, airfares are more affordable. But do cheaper fares make up for all the potential headaches travelers have encountered while flying, such as flight cancellations or delays?
Berg said flight disruptions would remain a problem despite the temporary improvement last month. Lateness rates, for example, had improved in July but then rose to 25% from 18%.
So many of the firm’s clients are taking “proactive measures to protect against potential disruptions,” she said, including purchasing travel insurance products. In fact, 1 in 5 Hopper customers now choose such protections when booking.