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Airline tickets seeing significant increase in cost

Posted at 6:03 PM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 19:04:03-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — April is the peak time when people start booking their trips for summer.

As you search you might notice flight prices are going up.

“They’re extremely high,” Michelle Wilson, said entering Corpus Christi International Airport (CCIA).

Based on data from the last quarter of 2021 from the Federal Reserve of St. Louis, airline ticket prices have increased 20 to 30 percent compared to a year prior.

“Honestly, I think (they're going to) take advantage of us in this time of crisis with gas going up,” said Zay Rackaidz as he got off a flight in Corpus Christi.

Despite the high prices, demand for tickets hasn’t wavered. Kevin Smith, director of aviation of CCIA, said United Airlines was operating at a 94 percent load factor in March.

“It’s really nice to see the airport full again, but again, I think we’re on the cusp of people saying that’s too expensive," Smith said. "And if gas prices continue to drop like they are, I think you’ll see more people hitting the road.”

Prices aren’t expected to drop anytime soon.

"Truthfully, with less flights and people wanting to get back out into the world, you're seeing those prices drive up," said Smith. "They use an algorithm, so. Once that load factor hits about 80 percent, those fares start to increase dramatically."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation, the average round trip fare from Corpus Christi,during the second quarter of 2021, was $398.

“Everyone don’t got [sic] money like that, you know, it’s crazy," Rackaidz said. "I have to see my family, I have to see my friends and it’s so hard right now with them raising all those prices on us, like we rich, we not.”

Wilson understands the financial strain on the airlines but said they also need to understand that flyers have also been affected.

“How can people in (America) with the COVID and all that going on, how could they afford it with all the jobs lost and everything?” said Killian.

Gas prices may be to blame, but Smith said it’s more than that.

“Airlines are trying to make some of that money back up that they lost during COVID," Smith said. "But it’s also due to the pilot shortage, they’ve had to ground a lot of planes. You know, United had to pull out of 30 markets.”

Smith added, that 21 days out from your flight might be the cheapest price you see, but not always. Although prices will fluctuate, he suggests buying as early as you can.

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