The steady runup in ticket prices for flights in the U.S. this year appears to have come to an end. New data from Hopper found that average domestic fares have fallen by $20 to $390 since mid-May.
“Demand for domestic travel, which has been surging since late January also slowed in May, plateauing in line with airfare prices,” Hopper wrote Wednesday. However, the travel booking site noted that this is common as new bookings in mid-June begin to shift to fall trips that are after the summer travel peak ebbs in August.
In addition, despite the $20 drop — the first since the beginning of the year — U.S. domestic airfares remain roughly 18 percent higher than at the same time in 2019. International airfares are up 22 percent year-over-three-years.
Staffing, fleet, and other issues limit how much more U.S. airlines can fly. Most carriers, including the Big 4 — American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines — have either cut flights to mitigate disruptions, or loaded schedules with fewer flights than they had planned at the beginning of the year. The situation is expected to ease in the fall and winter when there is less travel demand, and training backlogs shrink.