Air travel prices may have started to fall from summer highs, but customers may be paying the price to see family and take long-awaited vacations in the post-pandemic world, travel experts say.
Hopper predicts the upcoming winter holiday season will be the most expensive in five years.
Hopper predicts 12.6 million people will fly over the Labor Day weekend. Average ticket prices for the long weekend have increased 20% between 2021 and 2019.
Domestic flights will cost an average of $278 for a round trip, according to Hopper data. For international flights, customers should expect to pay an average of $850 for round-trip fares. International prices are up 34% from 2021 prices.
However, Hopper said international travel is expected to account for 40% of weekend air traffic, up 7% from 2021.
The most popular destinations for domestic and international bookings are Las Vegas, Denver, Atlanta, Puerto Rico and Mexico, according to Hopper.
Hotel and gas prices are expected to add further spending compared to 2021 travel, the agency said.
This Thanksgiving, domestic flights are currently up 31% from 2019 prices and 44% from 2021 prices. The average round-trip flight is $380, a Hopper spokesperson told ABC News.
For those going international, prices aren’t jumping as high. Hopper reported a 23% and 25% increase in prices from 2019 and 2021, respectively. The average round-trip price is listed at $788, according to Hopper.
Looking ahead to Christmas travel, Hopper said prices are up 25% and 42% from 2019 and 2021 for domestic bookings, and 9% and 39% from those years for international travel.
A Hopper spokesperson told ABC News that the best time to start booking your domestic vacation travel is from mid-September to mid-October. For international travel, start as soon as possible, Hopper said, to book by the first week of October.
Some of the most sought-after vacation destinations are facing these price increases, including New York City, Orlando, Atlanta and Los Angeles, according to Hopper.
London and Paris are the most sought-after international destinations for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hopper said.
The high-priced holiday season follows a summer of airline disasters as customers suffered high rates of delays and cancellations throughout the season as bad weather and staff shortages plagued airports across the country.