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Airfare surges 42.9% as Delta notes unprecedented fall demand

Oct. 13, 2022
3 min read
Airfare surges 42.9% as Delta notes unprecedented fall demand
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Airfares rose nearly 43% over the same period a year ago, according to data released by the Labor Department on Thursday, a record-setting increase that topped the department's monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) report.

The CPI, which measures inflation, found that prices overall across all categories rose 8.2% over the past year, and 0.4% in the past month. Last month's report found airfare up 33%.

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Airfare was the fastest-growing category, followed by gas utility bills (33.1%) and eggs (30.5%). Gasoline was fourth, up 18.2%.

The surge in airfare comes as demand has remained strong into the fall "shoulder season" between the busy summer and holiday travel periods, an unusual trend. Pent-up leisure travel demand from nearly two years of closed borders has remained robust, while business travel is slowly beginning to return as more workers go back to offices.

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During a call with investors on Thursday, Delta Air Lines president Glenn Hauenstein noted that travel demand to Europe, in particular, has been unusually strong.

"Demand for trans-Atlantic travel is extending well into the fall," Hauenstein said. "Starting in October, we anticipate flying more trans-Atlantic capacity than 2019."

That strong demand is expected to continue into the holidays, Hauenstein said.

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Complicating the surge in airfare pricing is the airlines' reactions to various operational disruptions this spring and summer, when carriers reduced capacity to build more slack into their networks.

Related: 5 key tools and tips to find the cheapest airfare

While this had the positive effect of giving airlines more flexibility to respond to delays and cancellations caused by things such as thunderstorms, it also meant that the airlines were effectively pulling supply from the system. With demand remaining high and supply falling, prices inherently increase.

Airfares are expected to remain high through at least the holidays. Christmas flight prices are up 55% over last year and 19% over 2019, according to data tracked by flight booking service Hopper, while Thanksgiving prices are up 25% from last year.

There are signs, however, that inflation is beginning to affect Americans' holiday plans. A recent survey by Bankrate found that of the 43% of American adults who plan to travel during the holidays, 79% are changing aspects of their travel plans due to inflation (Bankrate is owned by Red Ventures, which also owns TPG.)

If you haven't booked holiday travel yet, consider making your plans on the sooner side: holiday flight prices typically increase as October moves into November, meaning its likely prices will go up.

Be sure to check out TPG's guide to find the cheapest airfare, and subscribe to our daily newsletter to stay up to date on the latest.

Featured image by glegorly/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
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Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
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  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023