Travel app Hopper reports that airfares are declining this month from peak summertime prices, so potential passengers looking to fly this fall may want to make their reservations as soon as possible.
“September and early October will be the cheapest times to travel, while August and early September will be the cheapest times to book travel for those months,” lead economist at Hopper, Hayley Berg, said.
According to the app’s Late Summer (Q3) Travel Index, for reservations made in August, the typical domestic airfare could fall as low as $286 roundtrip. That is a reduction of 25% from May, when the average fare exceeded $400, and a reduction of 3% from August of the previous year.
Due to a slowing in travel demand, airline prices often drop by 10% to 15% in the fall. “Offering lower airfare in August and September as travelers look to fall season travel is a seasonal occurrence, in line with the airlines’ expectations for pricing throughout the year,” said Berg.
However, this year’s decline is more pronounced than typical as a result of unusually high spring and summer fares brought on by elements including high aircraft fuel prices and higher-than-average demand from a public frightened of pandemics, she noted.
If reservations are made before the end of September, the average ticket for the remainder of the year will stay at or below $300 before beginning to rise once more in October and November.
“We look at a weighted average price, so departures in the next two to three months will be weighted most heavily, [and] most travelers getting low prices in August will be traveling in September and October,” said Berg.
Exactly where to fly and from where to fly?
This month, Hopper predicts that travellers leaving from the major U.S. aviation hubs will find affordable flights.
“Many major airports are offering lower fares this fall compared to 2019 to major destinations,” said Berg. “More than 200 to 300 destinations are priced lower this year from Chicago, Washington, D.C., Houston and Atlanta.”
Hopper is viewing what Berg described as excellent domestic transactions from New York. “We’re seeing airfare to … top destinations as much as 27% lower than 2019 prices.” Here are some example airfares from airports in the New York region:
- Orlando, Florida has gone down to $151 in price by 7.3% this year as compared to 2019.
- At Miami, $140 (down by 27 % comparing to 2019)
- $253 will get you to Las Vegas (5% lower comparing to 2019)
There are several inexpensive international flights from major U.S. hubs, including:
- $423 gets you from Washington, D.C. to Lisbon, Portugal.
- A flight from Boston to Dublin, Ireland, costs $452
- A $518 trip from Washington, D.C., to Copenhagen, Denmark
Do affordable prices offset inconveniences at the airport?
Affordability of airfare has improved. But can lower prices make up for all the inconveniences that travellers may experience when travelling, such as flight delays or cancellations?
Berg predicted that although briefly getting better last month, airline delays will continue to be a concern. For instance, delay rates increased in July before rising once more to 25% from 18%.
Accordingly, many of the company’s clients are buying trip insurance products as one of their “proactive measures to safeguard against potential disruptions,” she said. In actuality, such protections are currently chosen by 1 in 5 Hopper customers when making reservations.