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Why travel experts think you should expect airline tickets to get more expensive

You will likely see an increase in airline prices this summer

Plane
ThePixelman / Pixabay

Amid the fallout from the Boeing 737 MAX crisis, there is a looming possibility of airline tickets becoming more expensive. Incidents like the door of an Alaskan Airlines 737 MAX detaching mid-flight have prompted Boeing to slow down the production of this aircraft.

With airlines facing potential delays in receiving their ordered Boeing planes and some carriers like United even halting orders for certain models altogether, the industry braces for a reduction in available aircraft. These delays, compounded by intensive federal investigations into Boeing’s manufacturing processes, may limit the number of planes available to American carriers. Consequently, this reduction in aircraft availability poses a risk of driving up airline prices for travelers.

“Less supply of airplanes coming online means there’s going to be more demand for flying than capacity is able to fulfill, so that keeps upward pressure on airfares, all else equal,” Kathy Bostjancic, chief economist at Nationwide, told CNN. “We have already seen airfares jump the last few months, and it was up 3.6% in February.”

Airlines looking to Airbus

An airplane midflight as seen from below
elpratviu / Pixabay

As Boeing continues to grapple with a myriad of issues, ranging from the grounding of its 737 MAX jets to production delays and quality control issues, airlines around the world are finding themselves increasingly drawn to Airbus as a more reliable alternative. Airbus, the French aerospace giant, has seized the opportunity presented by Boeing’s setbacks and is working to claim the title of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer.

While airlines typically don’t switch manufacturers at a rapid pace, the momentum is already starting to shift in Airbus’s favor. If the trend continues and US carriers begin importing more Airbus planes to compensate for Boeing’s complications, it could have significant implications for America’s GDP, as Boeing’s struggles lead to weaker demand and reduced economic activity in the US aviation sector.

Could Boeing’s issues actually make airline tickets cheaper?

Because of Boeing’s ongoing challenges, there is a growing worry among some individuals about the potential impact on air travel demand as safety concerns emerge. However, industry experts don’t expect this to have a big influence on the airline industry. 

“When you buy a ticket, you’re not buying from Boeing or Airbus; you buy from Delta, United or Spirit,” Scott Keyes of Going.com told CBS. “You don’t look at what airplane will be flying, and optimistically, there will be little impact on the number of travelers.”

Nevertheless, should such worries materialize into decreases in passenger traffic, airlines would likely resort to fare reductions in an attempt to entice people back into the skies.

How to score cheaper plane tickets this summer

A plane taking off of the runway.
Pascal Meier / Unsplash

Although the rising prices may be unavoidable, scoring cheaper airline tickets over the summer can be possible with some strategic planning and flexibility. Booking in advance can often yield lower prices, as airlines tend to offer early bird discounts. Also, being flexible with travel dates and destinations can open up opportunities for deals, as mid-week flights and less popular destinations often come with lower fares. Additionally, traveling during off-peak times such as mid-June or late August may be a smart financial decision, as flight prices tend to increase around busy holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

Amanda Teague
Amanda, an accomplished freelance writer with four years of experience, is a dedicated explorer of both the world and the…
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