Leisure travel roars back — at a cost to consumers
Travelers are finally taking to the skies again, but the surge in demand is coinciding with high oil prices, driven by Russia's war on Ukraine.
As a result, airlines are having to pay more for jet fuel, and they are passing some of those increased costs along to consumers.
Gina Kramer and her daughter Frankie recently flew to Southern California to visit family they haven't seen in three years, in part because they didn't feel safe traveling during the pandemic.
"So it's going to be a family reunion of sorts," Frankie told CBS News' Danya Bacchus.
The trip is coming at a cost to the Kramers and other families that are prioritizing travel again.
Airline ticket prices are soaring, according to data from Hopper, an analytics company that tracks changes in airfare.
Prices continue to climb
The average cost of domestic roundtrip ticket was $330 in March, up 40% from the beginning of this year. Airfare is expected to continue rising 10% through May, when a round trip ticket will cost, on average, $360, according to Hopper.
Gina Kramer experienced this first hand while browsing ticket prices online, noting that the longer she delayed booking, the more prices went up.
"And if you missed a window, two days later, prices were like, $100 more," she said.
Higher prices aren't expected to deter travelers, though. An American Express Travel survey found that 72% of Americans plan to travel more this year than last.
This rise in demand is pushing up prices for nearly all-things travel-related, including hotel rooms.
"Domestic bookings are surging, hotels rates are going up nearing 2019 levels," said CBS News travel advisor Peter Greenberg. "People are now valuing travel as an experience they want to keep."
Airlines are also responding to the rebound in travel. JetBlue recently cut 27 routes, many of which it added during the pandemic to hotspots in Florida and Mexico, when Americans were more limited in where they could go.
With higher fuel prices and trips to Europe back in play, some of the routes no longer make financial sense for the airline.
"Demand to these places is waning as people feel more comfortable going to cities," said Willis Orlando, a flights specialist at Scott's Cheap Flights, an airfare deals website. "If I were in the pricing department of an airline deciding what routes are profitable, I would say maybe we don't need to double down quite so hard on South Florida."
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