If you're looking to travel anywhere this summer, hopefully you have already started making those plans and can prepare for what Expedia CEO Peter Kern is calling the "busiest travel season ever," according to Bloomberg.
Flight cancellations, increasing gas prices, and staffing shortages are just some of the main reasons that summer 2022 is going to be an expensive one if you plan on escaping to somewhere warm.
Consumer Reports published a letter on Tuesday directed to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg "to take more aggressive action to ensure airline passengers are treated fairly amid a record number of flight cancellations and delays," according a press release.
A petition signed by about 30,000 people was sent to the Department of Transportation, asking Buttigieg to make airline passenger's rights more clear and to hold the airlines accountable for flight disruptions.
"After two years of nonstop travel chaos, it's time for Secretary Buttigieg to bring order, fairness, and accountability to the airline industry, CR Aviation Adviser, William J. McGee, said. "Secretary Buttigieg should investigate and hold airlines accountable when they fail to minimize flight cancellations and withhold refunds to passengers who were legally entitled to them.
"We need new rules and stronger oversight by the Department of Transportation that require airlines to accommodate and compensate passengers fairly during flight delays and cancellations."
There were 111,018 flights cancelled in 2021, according to the DOT, and the cancellations have not slowed down this year. It's expected to continue to get worse throughout the summer when more people will be trying to travel.
Airlines have made it clear they are dealing with high numbers of staffing shortages, and of course, bad weather does not help make travel any easier.
Although, CR is still calling for a passenger bill of rights, similar to those currently in Europe and Canada, that outlines a clear set of rules and options for passengers when their flight inevitably gets delayed or cancelled.
"CR's petition also calls for the DOT to adopt a new rule that would allow passengers to cancel flights and get a full refund during 'force majeure' events such as a global pandemic," CR said in the press release.
"Many consumers who canceled flights due to Covid health concerns and government lockdowns have been frustrated that the airlines offered vouchers for future travel instead of providing refunds."
Plenty of spring break travelers have already dealt with a number of issues when they were planning to fly back home. In addition to the delays or cancellations, they also were paying 21% more for their spring break travel than people did in 2021, according to the travel app Hopper, per CNN.
"A tremendous amount of demand [is] from travelers who have not been able to travel the last two spring and summer seasons," Haley Berg, economist at Hopper, told ABC News. "And the second factor is jet fuel. Jet fuel prices are also up 40% since the beginning of the year and up 75% since this time last year. Demand and higher jet fuel prices together are really driving overall domestic airfare up."
Hopper reported that the average round trip flight domestic flight is going for roughly $330, which is 7% more compared to pre-pandemic prices in 2019, according to ABC News. International travel is also more expensive, up about 25% this year to $810 for a round trip flight.
"The company expects those prices to keep rising, forecasting domestic airfare to reach $360 for a round trip through May. International airfare is expected to peak at $940 in June," according to The Washington Post.
Even though airfare is continuing to increase, Kern told Bloomberg that he doesn't think it will deter people from still making summer travel plans.
"Airlines are expecting to be back to historic levels by August," Kern said. "And yes, prices will be high. But at this point, I think people are willing to pay whatever the hell it takes to get away and go to a place they want to go."
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