- The United Airlines CEO said customers can expect ticket prices to rise.
- United’s jet fuel prices are up about 6% year-on-year, according to third-quarter results.
- Air travel has increased significantly since the start of the pandemic, causing the price of jet fuel to rise with demand.
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said customers can expect ticket prices to rise as the cost of jet fuel rises.
Oil prices have risen to their highest level in about seven years, and travel has recovered from a deep coronavirus pandemic, meaning higher jet fuel prices.
“Higher jet fuel prices lead to higher ticket prices,” Kirby said in an interview on CNBC. “Airfares will come back from the really, really low levels they’ve reached during the pandemic, but air travel remains a bargain.”
United’s jet fuel prices are up about 6% year-on-year, according to third-quarter results. The airline spent an average of $2.14 a gallon in the third quarter and expects to spend about $2.39 a gallon in the fourth quarter.
The average cost of a domestic round-trip flight in 2021 is $260 so far, down from the 2020 average cost of $292. By comparison, the average round-trip flight in 2019 cost about $355, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
United has not commented on the potential rate hikes.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. airlines reported 62.5 million departing passengers from April to June this year, compared to 2020, which saw 11.5 million departing passengers.
Airline passengers can expect full planes ahead of the holiday season, Kirby said. United, which plans December to be its busiest month, has more than 3,500 domestic flights scheduled daily for leisure travel. December will be United’s largest domestic schedule since 2019, Insider reported.
Those traveling before Thanksgiving can expect a domestic flight cost of about $300 for a round trip, according to Hopper, up 23% from 2020 and down 11% from 2019. For Christmas, domestic flight costs are close. from levels not seen since 2018, Hopper reported. $390 is the average cost of a round trip this Christmas, which Hopper says is up 55% from 2020.