Airline prices for the upcoming summer travel season are set to get a little bump due to the widespread grounding of Boeing 737 Max jets after two fatal crashes, a travel expert warns.
Liana Corwin, a consumer travel expert, predicts some flights will go up in cost as a result.
“In very specific cases, such as Southwest suspending service from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, prices may go up due to decreased overall capacity and lack of competition on certain routes. It is unlikely that airlines will cut capacity on routes that are popular and performing,” Corwin told FOX Business.
Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft was grounded worldwide in March following two fatal crashes less than five months apart. A preliminary report found similarities between the accidents that killed more than 300 people in Ethiopia and Indonesia.
Earlier this month, American Airlines said it will extend cancellations for its MAX jets through mid-August, while Southwest Airlines, which has the biggest fleet of 737 Max jets, has pulled the plane until Aug. 5. An average of 275 flights per day will be cut as a result.
However, given the multitude of factors that go into determining the cost of airfare, Corwin believes oil prices and competitive pressures will still be the biggest factors driving up costs this summer.
“Growth in capacity for U.S. major and low-cost carriers comes despite the temporary grounding of 737 Max planes,” she said. “Although the grounding of these planes has impacted specific carrier capacity, overall domestic capacity remains higher in May 2019 than in the previous year.”
Corwin added that with all of these factors, it is even more critical to “book sooner rather than later” this year, if you are planning a summer getaway.
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Here are her four top summer travel tips.
1. Book Sooner Rather Than Later – Airfares are on the rise. This month, we project a 6.8 percent increase in domestic round-trip flight prices to $236 in line with expectations due to typical seasonal demand. Prices will continue to rise through June, then begin to fall from July through October. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always better to start tracking prices early in order to get a good deal.
2. Look for Deals at the Beginning of the Week – By a very slight margin, you’re more likely to find savings toward the beginning of the week; prices are primarily regulated by very complex revenue management software, but it’s toward the beginning of the week that the humans step in to push sales in a certain direction, which is when you’ll see things like flash sales start to take place.
3. Don’t Forget to Book In Advance for Hotels Too – For hotels, waiting until the last minute will not always yield the best deal. In fact, hotels want to book their rooms further in advance, so they often offer incentivized pricing for folks who book 21-plus days in advance; also, consider newly opened hotels, which often discount their prices for the first three months of operation
4. Be Flexible with Dates – With the exception of flights to the Caribbean (which has a 6 percent premium for Saturday night stays), all other destinations have a discount with a Saturday night stay. Want to get the most savings? Head to Europe — the average discount is almost 40 percent for including a Saturday night stay. Domestic flights and international flights to Canada, Oceania, Mexico and Central America offer savings of less than 3 percent.