Looking for ways to save money on trips to Walt Disney World during the upcoming off-season? We can’t help with the now overdue discounts on resorts, but we do have a trio of deals on Orlando airfare to share. Perhaps more importantly, welcome relief is on the way via falling flight costs in the coming months.
Let’s start with the latter bit of good news. After a truly chaotic summer travel season with overflowing airports, daily delays, constant cancellations, and soaring airfare, things might be turning the corner and finally improving. In particular, travel experts are forecasting falling flight prices as summer ends and the shoulder season starts.
Some analysts are predicting that domestic round-trip ticket prices could drop below $300 on average in the coming months. According to data from travel booking platform Hopper, average domestic ticket prices could decrease by around $150 in September and October 2022. But it gets even better than that!
The average price of a domestic roundtrip flight right is forecast to fall to a low of $286 later in August 2022. That’s down 25% compared to the airfare peak in May of this year. Notably, it’s also down 3% as compared to the same month in 2019, the last “normal” year before, well, you know.
As you’re also undoubtedly aware, airfare has been expensive for the spring and summer travel seasons–far, far above 2019. The culprits for this are fairly well-known to readers here, mirroring those of Walt Disney World: pent-up demand, staffing shortages, inflation, and higher jet fuel prices (okay, that last one is not one of the usual suspects discussed here).
The two last two summer travel seasons have had artificially depressed demand for flights. The reasons are obvious for 2020, but then last summer got off to a slow start before being cut short due to the Delta variant. This year, traveler demand peaked earlier than in a normal summer. (That’s interesting–and unsurprising–because it tracks perfectly with wait time data from our Walt Disney World crowd reports.)
Also unsurprising is that airfare is less expensive for August through October. This is normal for the airline industry, with seasonality kicking in after school starts going back into session; demand tapers off following the peak summer vacation months. (Again, trends mirrored in Walt Disney World wait time data.) It’s simply more pronounced this year due to the abnormally elevated summer prices and impact of satiated pent-up demand.
Slower bookings over the fall shoulder season causes airlines to lower prices in an effort to incentivize travelers to book trips and fill unsold seats. Since they’re perishable commodities (meaning that if a flight departs with empty seats, that revenue goes unrealized), it behooves airlines to adjust prices and offer sales as necessary to fill flights to the greatest extent practicable.
It should go without saying, but these lower prices won’t last. Anyone who follows Walt Disney World wait times (or even simply…goes places) will know this. Fall is considered the “shoulder season” because it’s between two busy travel windows–summer and the holiday season. By mid to late October, travelers will begin booking and traveling again.
Consequently, airfare will gradually rise in October to $339, then $373 in November 2022. Domestic flights are forecast to average $368 per ticket in December, with daily prices peaking at close to $400 for last-minute dates around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.
And of course, these are just averages. If you’re flying from MRY to MCO two days before Thanksgiving, don’t be surprised when the prices are “slightly” higher than the aforementioned airfares. Rates from regional airports are typically higher, as are weekends, longer flights, etc.
On the plus side, if you’re flying from Atlanta, Charlotte, or even Midwestern cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, etc., you very well might pay less for your flights to Walt Disney World. (This should be obvious, but there’s always someone in the comments who is shocked that their specific circumstances don’t perfectly comport with averages. For whatever reason, it’s never someone who’s happy that their prices are lower than the norm, either.)
One big driver of higher prices this holiday season as compared to 2019 will be jet fuel prices. Over the summer, per gallon prices were up 85% as compared to 2019 and 86% as compared to last year. Jet fuel prices typically account for between 15% and 30% of an airline’s operating expenses and are a significant contributing factor to the higher airfares. On a positive note, jet fuel prices appear to have peaked in early June, are down over 10% in the last month, and are forecast to continue decreasing this fall.
While airlines continue to contend with understaffing and recovering networks that have caused disruptions, delays, and…