International Airfare Reaches Highest Level in 5 Years

Airfare to Europe and Asia is at a record high due to surging demand, higher fuel costs, and lower capacity.

According to data from travel app Hopper, airfare to Europe and Asia has hit its highest level in more than five years. This summer, travelers heading to these sought-after destinations can expect to pay over $300 more per ticket than last year. The leading factors contributing to the spike in international airfare prices include surging demand, higher jet fuel prices, and lower capacity.

For those heading to Europe, Hopper data shows that prices are averaging $1,167 per round-trip ticket this summer, which is up 36% compared to last summer and 37% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, flights to Asia are averaging $1,817 per ticket, up 24% from last year and 62% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Hopper’s lead economist, Hayley Berg, explained that international demand continues to outpace supply, in part due to ongoing travel restrictions. Last summer, demand primarily focused on domestic trips as testing requirements and travel restrictions limited access to many countries, while others remained completely closed to tourism.

However, there is good news for travelers flying domestically, with Hopper noting that available capacity and lower jet fuel prices have pushed domestic fares down almost 20% compared to last summer. Domestic airfare is now averaging $306 per round-trip ticket, which is only up 6% from summer 2019.

While prices will peak this summer around the Fourth of July, with trips averaging $349 per ticket, Berg warned that seasonal disruptions should still be expected. Last summer, travelers faced numerous cancellations due to over-scheduling by airlines and industry-wide staffing issues. While airlines and airports have increased staffing and fixed schedules ahead of this summer, it may not be enough to prevent disruptions entirely.

In conclusion, while international airfare has reached its highest level in over five years, domestic fares have decreased significantly. Travelers should prepare for potential seasonal disruptions, with the highest rates in June and early July.