Airlines are unable to meet demand for summer traveling
If you have summer travel plans, you should know it’ll probably cost you a lot more than the previous years. Airline fares, hotel prices and canceled flights are affecting customers in a major way. Learn why below.
by Aline Barbosa
Airline fares, canceled flights and other drawbacks might damp consumers’ plans for summer travel this year.
Summer is just around the corner, and with it, comes the nightmare of summer travel hell. Record gas prices, rental car shortages, canceled flights, rising hotel prices and record-high airfares are just a few of the problems that are currently plaguing consumers. Most airlines stated that they’re prepared to handle any of the service problems that troubled the industry in 2021. However, more than 2,653 flights were canceled between Friday and Monday of last week. That accounts to more than the canceled flights for the same holiday weekend in the previous three years combined.
Before the pandemic, American airlines canceled significantly less flights, even though the average number was about 6,600 more than what they have on schedule now. Experts say that consumers are right to be apprehensive about traveling, and they should see more of this particular issue for the rest of the summer.
Airlines now have significantly less employees than before, especially pilots. The companies received about $54 billion in taxpayer aid during the height of the pandemic to prevent mass layoffs. However, many airlines preferred to offer early retirement packages and buyouts in order to trim their staff. That led them to save money while air traffic was at its lowest. What they forgot to anticipate is that it takes a long time to get certification for pilots and other airline staff.
Ultimately, that means airlines are operating with very little room for error. Therefore, customers end up paying the ultimate price whenever there’s air traffic control problems, bad weather or employees calling out sick. The latter being what caused so many flight cancellations this past weekend, according to the airlines.
Less workers equals pricier airlines tickets
Having a shorter staff means American airlines are not yet equipped to provide all the flights to meet the consumer’s demand. In 2022, the capacity of domestic flights in the US for the next three months is 5% inferior to where it was during the same period in 2019. However, several airlines reported record numbers of vacationers booking flights for the summer as consumers are eager to travel again in a post pandemic environment.
Scott Keyes, founder of the Scott’s Cheap Flight website says there’s a current mismatch of supply and demand. That means that any consumer’s hopes of getting cheaper flights for the summer are really slim to none. That is because record demand and limited supply means higher fares. According to April’s Consumer Price Index, airline fares were up 33% from the same period in 2021.
To make matters worse, airline fares are not the only thing that’s more expensive. A shortage in vehicles made rental car prices skyrocket in April. It pushed the cost up to 70% in comparison to 2019 prices. Hotel bookings are also more expensive, up to 20%. All of those prices are likely to rise even more during a busy summer travel period. Financial experts believe prices will drop in the fall, but it’s unlikely it’ll happen before then.
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