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Summer travel expected to heat up as airline inflation cools

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As Memorial Day inches closer, people are busy making their summer travel plans. If you’re worried about the price tag of vacation this year, there may be some signs you can take a sigh of relief.

Airlines for America forecasts a 6.3% increase in air travel on U.S. airlines this summer compared to last summer, which is a new record. Roughly 271 million passengers are expected, up from 255 million during summer 2023.

It comes as airline and hotel prices appear to be leveling out.

According to travel booking company Hopper, prices are set to remain consistent with last summer and lower than pre-pandemic prices.

The average “good deal” domestic airfare this month is listed as $307, a 0% change from last year.

In 2022, prices were nearing $400 for summer flights.

As of April, jet fuel costs had dropped 4% and airlines are flying more people by opening up more seats. Both of which may be contributing to the stabilized airfare.

Hotel room stays are also stabilizing. You can expect an average of $206 per night, which is consistent with last year’s cost.

Local travel agent Jessie Ladipo, of Trips to Cherish in Lexington said while the price tag for trips may still be jarring for some people, there are ways to cut costs.

“We were able to save over a thousand dollars on the flights by moving our trip just four days later,” she said of her planned trip to Europe this summer.

Booking early and staying flexible are the best options for people looking for a good rate.

“If you’re looking to save money, you need to prioritize what’s important to you,” she said.

Regardless of cost, it seems people are eager to get away this summer.

“Can’t give up the travel plans,” one traveler at Blue Grass Airport said.

“Don’t wait until the last minute to make those plans but yeah, still go. You gotta live life,” said another.

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