Domestic Airfare Is Still Cheaper Than Pre-Pandemic Prices: Kiplinger Economic Forecasts

Although domestic airfare is cheaper, some international flights are still more expensive than usual.

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Domestic airfare will remain slightly below prepandemic levels until November when the busy holiday travel season begins. Domestic round-trip airfare is currently averaging $257 per ticket, down 11% from the same time last year and the same time in 2019, per Hopper, an online travel booking platform. Look for average fares to peak at about $283 in late November and early December, with travelers booking their last-minute Thanksgiving and Christmas trips. 

Relief is in sight for some, though not all, international destinations. Airfare to European destinations is now 7% higher than prepandemic levels, thanks to high demand and reduced airline capacity, as well as historically high jet fuel costs. Nevertheless, prices should stabilize this fall, with demand enduring and capacity increasing. 

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For short-haul international flights, fares to Caribbean destinations are down 9% vs last year, and fares to Mexico and Central America are roughly in line with 2022. Bargains for Asia won’t be coming anytime soon. Fares to the region remain 60% above the prepandemic average, or around $525 more per ticket. They will remain elevated until airline capacity to that region has increased.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Sean Lengell
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

Sean Lengell covers Congress and government policy for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in January 2017 he served as a congressional reporter for eight years with the Washington Examiner and the Washington Times. He previously covered local news for the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. A native of northern Illinois who spent much of his youth in St. Petersburg, Fla., he holds a bachelor's degree in English from Marquette University.