Domestic airfare drops for the first time in 2022

Domestic airfare dropped this month to $390 round-trip, down from a high in mid-May of $410.

Hayley Berg - Jun. 15, 2022

Summary

  • Domestic airfare dropped this month to $390 round-trip, down from a high in mid-May of $410 round-trip. Airfare remains 18% higher than 2019 prices today, but is trending downward in line with trends we typically see at this time of year. 

  • International airfare continues to surge, as prices reach over $1,000 per round-trip ticket. Airfare is 22% higher than this time in 2019, but in line with airfares seen in June of 2018.  Prices will begin to drop seasonally in the next few weeks, in line with previous summers. 

  • Demand for domestic and international travel has begun to plateau in the last few weeks. Seasonally, demand typically slows around mid to late June as most travelers have booked their vacations for peak May, June and July already. Lower demand for late summer and early fall travel means lower airfare will likely be available for travelers who are willing to wait until September or October to vacation. 

  • Travelers are increasingly concerned about travel disruption this summer; at Hopper we’ve seen a 27% increase in customers adding Flight Disruption Guarantee (which helps protect travelers if their flight is delayed or they miss their connection) to their flight bookings.


Domestic airfare drops for the first time in 2022

Domestic airfare is currently averaging $390 RT, down from a peak of $410 round-trip mid May and the first time prices have dropped in 2022 in line with seasonal trends.  Domestic airfare prices rose rapidly after the Omicron variant of Covid-19 slowed in January, increasing by more than $170 over the next 4 months. Airfare for domestic travel typically peaks in May or June as Americans book their summer travel, then begins to decline seasonally into the shoulder season (September - October).

Demand for domestic travel, which has been surging since late January also slowed in May, plateauing in line with airfare prices. Demand for travel typically slows in June, as May and June see the highest demand for summer travel. Late August, September and October generally see lower demand for travel, which means flexible Americans can get even lower airfares if they travel in the early fall shoulder season. 

Though airfares are beginning to decline seasonally, Americans should expect prices to remain higher than usual as key factors driving up airfare remain in flux. Jet Fuel, which typically accounts for ~30% of an airline’s operating costs, remains more than double the price at this time in 2019. Airline capacity also remains at or below 94% of 2019 levels, as carriers have been slowly rebuilding their networks and workforces. 

Domestic
Figure 1: Round trip good deal airfare for the last 5 years, where airfare in 2022 has begun to fall after a peak in May.

🔥 Hot Domestic Deals 🔥

Find deals as low as these from major US airports for late summer travel on the Hopper app! 

Domestic
Domestic deals on Hopper

International airfare continues to rise; relief expected soon

International airfare continues to rise, with round trip tickets averaging $1,075, up 22% compared to the same time in 2021. Airfare from the US to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean slowed the most in the last few weeks as demand shifts seasonally towards longer haul, higher priced destinations in Europe.

Despite the rise relative to 2019, international travel this year is priced similar to airfares seen in 2018. Demand for international travel began slowing in late May, and is expected to continue slowing as we approach lower demand late summer and fall shoulder season travel months. Travelers can expect lower fares for international travel in late summer and early fall, as demand for international drops for trips at this time.  

Following the announcement that the CDC would be lifting COVID testing requirements for travelers entering the U.S beginning June 12th, Hopper saw an 8% increase in bookings for international trips on Friday, June 10th. 

International
Figure 3: Round trip good deal airfare for the last 5 years showing international airfare continuing to surge into late June, 2022.
Airfare
Figure 4: Airfare to each region from the US, indexed to the average airfare in the first week of January. Showing airfare to the Antilles (Caribbean), Mexico and Central America slowing in growth, while airfare to other regions continues to grow.
Airfare
Figure 4: Airfare to each region from the US, indexed to the average airfare in the first week of January. Showing airfare to the Antilles (Caribbean), Mexico and Central America slowing in growth, while airfare to other regions continues to grow.

🔥 Hot International Deals 🔥

Find deals as low as these from major US airports for late summer travel on the Hopper app! 

International
International deals available on Hopper

Disruption concerns grow among summer travelers

Some airlines have announced major schedule changes and cancellations for later in summer, as they struggle to rebuild capacity as quickly as they would like to. Travelers are increasingly concerned about travel disruption this summer; at Hopper we’ve seen a 27% increase in customers adding Flight Disruption Guarantee to their flight bookings. This product allow travelers who miss a connection or are delayed significantly to rebook themselves on the next available flight (no matter the airline) via the Hopper app, at no additional cost. 

Today, domestic airline capacity remains at or below 94% of 2019 levels, as carriers have been slowly rebuilding their networks and workforces. International seat capacity from the US remains at around 82% of 2019 levels. Given slowing international demand, airlines are likely to continue prioritizing rebuilding domestic networks faster than their international networks.

Domestic
Figure 5: Estimated volume of seats flown by day from US origins. Data is sourced from OAG.
International
Figure 8: Estimated volume of seats flown by day from US origins. Data is sourced from OAG.

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