Travelers looking to fly this fall may want to book their flights now, as travel app Hopper reports lower airfares 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 in those months,” Huber’s chief economist Hayley Berg said.
The app’s Late Summer Travel Index (Q3) claims that the average price for domestic air travel could drop to $286 round-trip for bookings made in August. That’s a 25% drop from May, when prices averaged over $400, and 3% less than in August of last year.
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Airfares usually drop 10% to 15% in any fall as travel demand slows. “Introducing lower airfares in August and September as travelers look forward to the fall travel season is a seasonal event, in line with airline price expectations throughout the year,” Berg said.
But it noted that this year’s decline is more steep than usual, following abnormally high spring and summer wage prices due to factors such as higher jet fuel prices and higher-than-normal demand from the epidemic-weary public.
The average fare for the rest of the year will remain at $300 or less if booked by the end of September before starting to rise again in October and November.
“We are looking at a weighted average price, so flights departing in the next two to three months will be very likely, [and] Most travelers who get low fares in August will travel in September and October,” Berg said, explaining how Hooper determines the best times to buy and travel.
Where do you fly… and where do you fly?
According to Huber, travelers leaving the most important US air hubs should find good deals this month.
“Many major airports are offering lower fares this fall compared to 2019 for major destinations,” Berg said. “More than 200 to 300 destinations have been slashed this year from Chicago, Washington DC, Houston and Atlanta.”
From New York, Hopper sees what Berg described as great local deals. “We see fares for travel to… top destinations 27% lower than 2019 prices.” Sample flight tickets from New York area airports include:
- Orlando, FL for $151 (down 7.3% from 2019)
- Miami for $140 (down 27% compared to 2019)
- Las Vegas $253 (5% off 2019)
Good value international flights from major US centers include:
- From Washington, D.C. to Lisbon, Portugal for $423
- Boston to Dublin, Ireland, for $452
- From Washington DC to Copenhagen, Denmark $518
Do good prices outweigh the aggravation of the airport?
Well, airfares are quite affordable. But do cheaper fares make up for all the potential problems travelers encounter when traveling, such as flight cancellations or delays?
Berg said flight disruptions will remain an issue, although they temporarily improved last month. Delay rates, for example, improved in July but then jumped to 25% from 18%.
Consequently, many of the company’s customers are taking “proactive measures to guard against potential disruptions,” she said, including purchasing trip insurance products. In fact, one in five Hopper customers now choose this protection when booking.