As you get ready for holiday travel, you may find that it could cost a bit more to fly -- especially depending on which airports you use.
According to new data from the financial planning site SmartAsset, average airfare prices have skyrocketed, increasing nearly 21% over the second quarter of 2022 from $328 to $397 for a domestic flight.
The report indicates that rising costs of jet fuel, delays, cancellations and inflation are all contributing factors in the price increase.
"I'm not surprised that flight prices are higher now than they were pre-pandemic, given all the things our industry has been through in the past few year[s]," Roger Broussard, a professional pilot and CEO and Founder of Pilot School Hero, told SmartAsset. "The pandemic itself really hit our industry badly, with employees leaving the industry never to return, which has exacerbated staff shortages. There's also, if you can believe it, a shortage of planes across some airlines -- that's without even talking about oil prices and inflation."
Some airports are seeing much bigger price increases than others. To determine the worst offenders, SmartAsset analyzed airfare prices across 100 of the busiest airports, based on the total number of domestic passengers in 2021.
The analysis found that western airports are seeing larger increases in airfare. Six of the 10 airports with the largest price increases are in the West, including two in Washington, two in California, one in Idaho and one in Arizona. Of those, Fresno Yosemite International Airport ranks worst, with an average airfare of $474 -- an increase of 42% and $140 higher than it was a year previously.
Some cities have seen even larger recent increases than the nearly 21% national increase. Specifically, four airports had an increase of over 30% – three in California and one Arizona airport.
Passengers can also expect to pay more than $500 on average at three airports. Dane County Regional – which serves Madison, Wisconsin – has the highest average fare of $526. Washington Dulles International Airport and Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport follow closely behind with average airfares of $526 and $503, respectively.
To determine the airports with the largest increases in airfare, SmartAsset compared the airports across three metrics: average airfare in the second quarter of 2022 (one-way and round-trip, domestic flights), as well as the one-year percentage change and dollar change in average airfare. The airports are ranked with half-weight given to average fare and a full weight to the other two metrics.
These are the 10 airports that have seen the biggest increases in price, per SmartAsset:
1) Pensacola International
The average fare is $462 -- 51% or $157 higher than a year earlier.
2) Fresno Yosemite International
The average fare is $474 -- 42% or $140 higher than a year earlier.
3) Seattle/Tacoma International
The average fare is $437 -- 49% or $144 higher than a year earlier.
4) Los Angeles International
The average fare is $448 -- 42% or $133 higher than a year earlier.
5) Bozeman Yellowstone International
The average fare is $442 -- 43% or $134 higher than a year earlier.
6) Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International
The average fare is $503 -- 37% or $137 higher than a year earlier.
7) Spokane International
The average fare is $438 -- 41% or $129 higher than a year earlier.
8) Tucson International
The average fare is $470 -- 37% or $128 higher than a year earlier.
9) Boise Air Terminal
The average fare is $424 -- 43% or $128 higher than a year earlier.
10) Detroit Metro Wayne County
The average fare is $430 -- 41% or $126 higher than a year earlier.
As for airports with the smallest increase, that list is led by Kahului Airport with an average fare of $289 (just 2% or $7 higher than a year earlier). Rounding out the top five are: St. Pete Clearwater International with an average fare of $144 (an increase of 10% or $13 dollars); Ellison Onizuka Kona International at Keahole with an average fare of $289 (4% or $12 higher); Bob Hope with an average fare of $284 (8% or $22 higher) and Metropolitan Oakland International with an average fare of $303 (10% or $30 higher).
Nationally, the average airfare in the second quarter of 2022 was $397. Prior to this, the national average has not exceeded $390 since 2014, according to SmartAsset.
Looking forward to the holidays, airfare prices are unlikely to drop.
"We'd normally expect prices to drop off a little over the winter months," Broussard said. "But this year the power looks to be in the hands of the airlines, with demand looking set to stay high and limited spaces to go around meaning prices will stay high."