Inflation Replaces Covid as the Latest Holiday Travel Disruptor

For the past two holiday seasons, Andi Garland wasn’t able to visit her dad for Thanksgiving due to the pandemic. This year, the Louisiana native’s plans were stymied by a different force: inflation.

With ticket prices surging compared to last year, the 22-year-old who works in a dermatology clinic decided to forgo seeing her dad and his new wife in Atlanta.

“I was shocked and kind of upset,” she said. “The ticket would have been $600. It’s never been that high before.”

After two years of pandemic disruptions, this holiday season was supposed to be the time families could get together again. Yet with inflation pushing up the prices of everything from plane tickets to gas and groceries, some are choosing to forgo gatherings due to cost, not Covid.

It’s a problem with no clear end in sight. Although the Federal Reserve is aggressively hiking interest rates to combat rising prices, the latest inflation reading was still up 7.7% from a year earlier, with airfare notching a 43% surge year-over-year.

Meanwhile, the average price of a domestic airline ticket in September was $307, according to Hopper Price Tracker, up 36% from last year and 41% from 2020.

Cheaper Alternatives

Hunter Malloy in Brooklyn decided to skip her family’s Thanksgiving festivities in Orlando, Florida, after looking at plane ticket costs. Although they’re always high this time of year, the prices shocked the 23-year-old, who works as a tutor while looking for a full-time job in research.