Encouraged by dwindling Covid-19 case numbers and rising vaccination rates, Americans want to travel this upcoming holiday season, and the demand surge is contributing to higher prices, according to one travel expert.
“All of the data that we track at Hopper is telling us that for domestic travel, the time to book your holiday travel is now,” Hopper Chief Executive Frederic Lalonde recently told Yahoo Finance Live. “Most definitely prices are not going down. They’re actually going up.”
Based on domestic airline demand, Lalonde said that “holiday travel rates are already up 105% in the last month” and have rebounded to pre-pandemic price averages of $300 for Thanksgiving airfare and $400 for Christmas airfare. Similarly, hotel prices are up 40% since the beginning of the year.
“These are pre-pandemic price levels that we're seeing,” Lalonde said. “Prices are going to continue to rise.”
Some pandemic-weary travelers fearful of flight delays or cancellations might feel more confident booking with Hopper, which safeguards from disruptions and enables fliers to “get on to the next available flight at any cost,” Lalonde explained.
“[Hopper] actually will pay the difference in full to the airline you're booking on,” Lalonde said. The service comes with a 6% to 14% fee of the ticket price.
Travelers craving flexibility and protection are springing for Hopper’s disruption protection in anticipation of delays from crowds, airline staffing shortages, and winter weather. Hopper’s product portfolio allows travelers to freeze flights, rebook, and reverse course on non-changeable tickets or non-refundable hotel rooms.
“If the flight is late for any reason, or obviously canceled, you can rebook directly in the Hopper app on any airline that's $0,” Lalonde said. “No waiting, no calling, no talking to anybody.”
Stephanie is a reporter for Yahoo Money. Follow her on Twitter @SJAsymkos.