The end of pandemic flight bargains? Air travel costs surging The Jerusalem Post
Patrick De Haan has a bird’s-eye view of skyrocketing prices around the country. He’s the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, a company that crowdsources gas price data. But more recently, he is feeling the pain of emptying his wallet for one of the latest trends of surging costs – air travel.
“My wife and I booked two trips to Rio last year,” De Haan said. “Now I’m spending 20% more just to get to Atlanta than we spent to go to Brazil.”
But it’s bad news beyond De Haan’s household budget. Many travelers used to scoring pandemic flight deals are in for an unpleasant surprise as the tides of cheap air travel have shifted.
According to Hopper, a flight-book app, the cost of domestic air travel is up 40% since the start of the year with the average roundtrip flight at $330. The company expects prices to rise 10% in May.
Multiple air travel experts say the worst is still to come. After two years of COVID crushing our travel plans, consumer demand is now high despite increasing prices just as the cost of jet fuel has ballooned due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And that’s a double whammy on fares.
“People see an opportunity where they can book summer travel as (COVID) cases seem down. So it’s really propelling this desire to travel,” said Vivek Pandya, a lead analyst for Adobe Digital Insights, which compiles air travel data.
The era of cheap prices officially ended in February when domestic air travel fares finally topped pre-pandemic costs, Pandya said.
Airlines are also seeing trouble keeping the planes flying off the tarmac due to pilot shortages and weather delays contributing to cost increases. Earlier this month Alaska Airlines and other carriers canceled more than 3,500 U.S. flights in one weekend impacting tens of thousands of travelers. This week, Jet Blue said it is expected to reduce flight capacity by up to 10% through the summer, CNBC reported.
For California’s most popular route San Francisco to Los Angeles a weekend roundtrip flight is around $200 in May, nearly double the average cost over the past two months, according to price data on Google Flights. But weekday travelers are in luck as they can still land a sub-$100 flight. That’s cheaper than driving the same route, with a car getting 40 miles per gallon or less, by upwards of $10.
Kathleen Bangs, a former airline pilot, and spokesperson for the flight tracking company FlightAware said there is a small window for flying in May where deal-hunting travelers could snag cheaper airfares. “Especially the earlier part (of May), as it’s a post-spring break, yet not Memorial Day weekend,” said Bangs. “But demand is huge right now for the summer season even Europe is back, despite the ongoing war in Ukraine.”
Not all travel booking has to be an excruciating process of emptying your wallet. Some travelers who hunted for bargains or got lucky were pleasantly surprised by the price of their tickets.
Michael Petrelis, a longtime LGBTQ advocate in San Francisco, snagged a $300 business-class flight on United from Newark to San Francisco. “After sleeping for two hours, I watched a favorite Polish film, IDA, while enjoying a snack from the airline,” said Petrelis. “All my flights should be that way!”
KEEPING up with, feeding, and entertaining multiple kids while on the move is no easy feat, but one crafty mom has got it down packed.
Mom of three, Jaquelin Castillo often shares mom hacks with her 950.5k TikTok followers to help them out when they’re on the road.
In a video posted to her account, the first tip Castillo shared was using Dollar Tree containers as the perfect fast food holders for when you’re on the go.
This will help keep McDonalds meals organized and leave your kids’ tummies happy.
Up next was a pencil pouch holder held up by carabiners. This makes an ideal behind the seat iPad stand so that your kids could watch their favorite shows hands free.
Finally, the savvy mom recommended wagons filled with snacks. Her wagon has multiple configurations, and she always keeps a car vacuum for it incase bits of food get into it.
Fellow parents in the comments were grateful for the tips.
“The iPad car holder! I had to resort to rubber bands last time lol. Great idea!” someone noted.
“Did you like go to mom college or something? Btw love these ideas,” another praised.
A grateful viewer said: “Car vaccuumm????? Why in the world did I never think of that, thank you!!!!”
“The pencil pouch is genius! My 18 month old daughter likes to throw my phone,” someone else said.
“The fact that you have Backyardigans playing on the iPad/tablet, you already got me. My oldest still loves them. Love all the hacks,” another mentioned.
If you’re looking to travel to the beach and don’t want the hassle of having to watch your items while you enjoy the water with your kids, mommy bloggers, who are mainly known as Crafty Moms on social media, shared their solution: a baby diaper.
You simply place your keys, money, wallet, and phone inside the diaper and roll it up.
No one will ever suspect that your valuables are in there.
Following the mom hack, people took to the comments section with good humor.
One mom quipped: “Yes, but also my husband would throw it away!”
“Add a little melted chocolate on the outside,” another joked.
“Until you forget and throw away your stuff,” a third mused.
And a fourth commenter stated: “Then I will forget it’s a clean diaper and will probably throw it away (mom life).”
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Holidays are eagerly anticipated by countless Britons who have been travel-starved for nearly a year. However, while the roadmap out of lockdown has been laid out, some uncertainty does still remain. Government travel advice currently states: “The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on March 29 but many restrictions will remain in place.
“People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes.
“Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons.
“Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme.
“The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12 April.”
It is hoped international jet-setting can return from May 17 as it stands.
However, many people may be apprehensive about parting with big sums of money in case it all goes wrong this summer and the Government backtracks.
Luckily holding off from booking doesn’t mean you have to miss out or will have to break the bank on a last-minute holiday.
In Channel 4 show Luxury Holidays: How To Get Away This Year, a travel expert explained bargain getaways can still be had.
“If you’re willing to wait, you might be able to jump on last-minute bargains for staycations as others change their mind and cancel UK bookings,” presenter Sabrina Grant told Express.co.uk.
Speaking to Grant in the show, Dr Peter Robinson from Leeds Beckett University said: “I suspect there will be people who have booked a UK holiday but who really want to go overseas and will take a small hit in order to go for that overseas holiday”
“Of course, the benefits to other people is that might free up low-cost last-minute bookings for the UK holidays as we get closer to the summer and these rules become clearer.”
As the show sums up: “If you’ve got your heart and a destination, that’s currently fully booked this summer, check back again if there’s a sudden change in international travel restrictions.”
What’s more: “If you’re really committed to a particular accommodation provider, consider getting in touch with them to be put on a waiting list should things change.”
Grant shared further tips for booking holidays this year with Express.co.uk.
She explained it’s vital to think about the Covid tests that will be needed and budget accordingly.
“If you do plan to go overseas make sure you factor in the possible cost of multiple Covid tests, and the possibility you may have to quarantine on return at a cost of £1750,” the presenter said.
It’s also important to get travel insurance, which should be purchased as soon as you book your holiday.
You must remember to read the fine print, too.
“Make sure you buy travel insurance, but the most important thing this year is to carefully check your cancellation policy when you book,” said Grant.
“Many providers are currently offering flexible booking policies.”
Luxury Holidays: How to Get Away This Year on Channel 4 tonight at 8pm and after on All 4