MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The holiday travel season is here, and ticket prices for flights are high while gas prices are getting lower.
The busiest traveling days of the year are almost here, and those traveling by air may be paying high prices. There are several reasons for these high flight prices, including normal holiday inflation, fuel prices, and a reduced number of flights because of a labor shortage with pilots and other staff.
“The result of all of those different factors is an increase in the flights that are available and there’s not as many as we normally see so the prices of these are normally going up,” said Clay Ingram with AAA.
They’re seeing these changes at Mobile Reginal Airport too. Airport Authority President Chris Curry says, “Airlines are having less seats available than normal. There’s labor shortages with pilots. A lot of the airlines are flying planes with less capacity than they did pre-Covid, with the pilot shortages some pilots only qualify for certain airframes and so that plays a part.”
But they’re still expecting a high number of travelers since they saw an influx during Thanksgiving.
“We think it will be the same for Christmas. People are ready to travel and they’re kind of over the whole pandemic. So, we are starting to see numbers what they were pre-covid.” Curry said.
With any holiday, people will do what they must to get to their destination, but with the cost of flying going up, more people may take to the roads to get to their destination.
“Used to be we were at 80, 82 percent of people traveling would be doing so by automobile, but over the last year or so, it’s been closer to 90 percent, and I think that will hold true through the Christmas, end-of-year holiday season coming up for us,” Ingram said.
2021 hit the highest gas prices we’ve seen since 2014, but those drivers may be seeing lower numbers when they hit the pumps.
“Part of the reasoning being the White House released some of those petroleum reserves that would help put some more gas and oil back into the marketplace,” Ingram said. “So that has helped relax the price of crude oil and allowed the prices to come down.”