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When Will Summer Flight Prices Peak?

By Alison Fox, T+L, April 2024

Summer travel is about to heat up, and flight prices may be downright scorching this season.

Flight prices for this summer will peak around $315 roundtrip for domestic getaways with fares starting to rise in May, according to predictions from booking site Hopper that was shared with Travel + Leisure. Peak prices will come at the end of May and early June.

While these prices may be equal to or even surpass 2023 levels, they are still lower than pre-pandemic in 2019, Hayley Berg, Hopper’s lead economist, told T+L. 

“Slightly lower domestic airfares come as seat capacity has fully surpassed pre-pandemic levels and demand for summer travel remains strong among American consumers,” Berg said. “Airlines have achieved higher capacities by adding larger planes on routes rather than adding more flights as they remain constrained on physical supply of new aircrafts."

When it comes to international trips, airfare prices remain higher than pre-pandemic levels to most regions of the world, but not nearly as high as last summer when airfare to Europe and Asia soared to a five-year high. An exception to that is Canada, which is seeing a 7 percent increase in prices compared to last summer and continues to see a 32 percent increase in prices compared to 2019.

Travelers heading to Europe, however, can score flights at $882 — much less than the average $1,167 last summer. 

Beyond high prices, Berg said travelers should prepare for increased travel disruption rates, especially in June, July and August. As a result, Berg said Hopper is increasingly seeing travelers add rebooking services to their trips in case of cancellations or delays.

When it comes to hotels, prices are currently averaging $206 per night, which Hopper said is in line with costs this time last year. 

But while major U.S. cities will always remain popular, Hopper said domestic travelers are searching for “smaller, more off the beaten track cities and towns” this summer, like Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Cody, Wyoming, and Bar Harbor, Maine.

Internationally, Osaka, Japan, is the top trending summer destination, followed by trips to Seoul, South Korea, and Nice, France.

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