CLEVELAND, Ohio – Airfare in Cleveland, and across the nation, has skyrocketed in recent months, a function of increasing demand and the rising cost of jet fuel.
Roundtrip airfare for a domestic flight from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is averaging $246, up 26% over last year. The average fare is even higher than 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic brought air travel to a near halt, according to an analysis conducted for The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com by travel data firm Hopper.
Fares to some of the nation’s most popular domestic destinations – including Las Vegas, Phoenix and Orlando – are increasing the most from Cleveland Hopkins.
See average fares for your favorite destinations at the end of this story.
And the price increases aren’t over yet, said Hayley Berg, head of price intelligence at Hopper. “Demand has surged back,” she said. “We expect prices to continue to rise all the way into June.”
If there’s a silver lining for Cleveland travelers, it’s this: Even though fares from Cleveland Hopkins are increasing, they’re still considerably less than fares from most cities across the US
Nationwide, average domestic roundtrip airfare is $330, up 40% from the beginning of the year, according to Hopper.
While demand is the biggest driver in price increases, Berg said that rising jet fuel prices and ongoing airline limits on seat capacity are also reasons for the increases.
Jet fuel prices, for example, are up about 40% since the beginning of the year, and likely account for about 10% of the increase in airfares, according to Hopper. Airline seat capacity for the summer, meanwhile, is down about 8% compared to 2019, although airlines still have the ability to adjust schedules, Berg said.
Hopper predicts that prices will continue to rise through late June, up another 10%. By mid-summer, Berg said, prices should start to drop, as demand typically wanes for travel in late summer and early fall.
Berg’s recommendations: If you’re planning to travel this spring, buy your tickets now. “Prices will only go up,” she said. And if you intend to travel this summer, start monitoring fares now and plan to book by early May.
Airfare to international destinations is going up, as well, although less dramatically than domestic fares. International fares average $810, according to Hopper, up 25% from the start of 2022.
Other trends noted in Hopper’s second quarter Consumer Airfare Index:
* Travelers continue to book closer to their travel dates, a trend that started due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Domestic fares are booked an average of 41 days ahead of travel, down from 50 days in 2019.
* Travelers are more likely to buy insurance or other products to guard against the unexpected.
* New York City, a perennially popular destination for summer travel, didn’t make it onto the top 10 domestic destinations for Clevelanders. Berg said destinations that are close to beaches and national parks continue to do very well, continuing a trend that began before the pandemic.
The US Department of Transportation also tracks airfares, although it looks backward at purchase prices, while Hopper typically looks forward, at airfare searches.
The most recent DOT figures for domestic airfare are for the third quarter of 2021, when the average fare for Cleveland Hopkins was $290, 8% lower than the national average of $314.
Meanwhile, traffic continues to recover at Cleveland Hopkins, which welcomed 572,112 travelers in February 2022, about 81% percent of the total from February 2020.
Average domestic airfare from Cleveland, for top 10 searched-for spring/summer destinations
* Orlando, $258, up 54% from 2019
* Los Angeles, $354, up 54% from 2019
* Boston, $222, up 54%
* Las Vegas, $395, up 46%
* Phoenix, $403, up 46%
* Denver, $311, up 44%
* Tampa, $233, up 28%
*Atlanta, $169, up 16%
* Miami/Fort Lauderdale, $261, up 5%
* Charlotte, $296, down 14%
Average international airfare from Cleveland, for top 10 searched-for spring/summer destinations
* Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, $669, up 29% from 2019
*Cancún, $488, up 28% from 2019
* London, $972, up 24%
* Hyderabad, India, $1,672, up 21%
* Montego Bay, Jamaica, $616, up 10%
* San Juan, Puerto Rico, $403, down 2%
* Dublin, $757, down 8%
* Paris, $1,002, down 12%
* Rome, $1,027, down 29%
* Madrid, $807, down 45%
Note: For travel May through July; fares based on Hopper data analysis, which tracks billions of fare searches daily.
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