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Believe It or Not, Average Flight Prices are Way Down…Again

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It's a good time to be on the hunt for cheap flights. In fact, it's probably the best time…ever. 

The latest federal inflation report released Thursday shows that average airfare fell another 5% from May into June 2024. Fares are also down 5% when compared to June 2023. Whether it's last month or last year, fares are down across the board. And while 5% might not seem like a lot, it can make a meaningful difference on your next trip. 

The trend is now undeniable: After spiking in summer 2022 amid record inflation nationwide, airfare has been steadily dropping since. But it's no surprise to us. Our team searches all day, every day for the cheapest domestic and international flights to send to our Thrifty Traveler Premium. We've been seeing these patterns (and amazingly cheap flight deals) that back up these big-picture inflation numbers.
 

Airplane 

Keep in mind: Airfare is not a monolith. Just because flight prices dropped 5% last month doesn't mean all flights are 5% cheaper. There are tens of millions of individual fares out there. Some go up, some go down … and some go way, way down.

But this summer has been special. We've repeatedly seen airlines slash prices on many routes for travel in the next few months. It's led us to declare that this is the best summer ever for travel. The sharp decrease is leaving the door open for travelers to take those big, destination trips to see the Paris Olympics or Taylor Swift's Eras Tour or for those who already booked their summer getaways to rebook at the lower fare and save.

Fares have been especially low to Europe lately, giving many travelers a shot at sub-$400 (and even sub-$300!) roundtrip fares. 
 

Iceland nonstop deal

 

These cheap fares to Iceland were a boon for flyers hoping to get to one of the most beautiful countries on earth. We thought fares like these to Europe couldn't be topped…we were wrong. 

 

LEVEL to Barcelona

 

These are just two examples. We have dozens more, including…

  • A mistake fare to Dublin (DUB) from $148 roundtrip
  • London (LHR) under $598 roundtrip
  • Edinburgh (EDI) for $494 roundtrip
  • Munich (MUC) under $589 roundtrip
  • Norway under $498 roundtrip
  • Madrid (MAD) under $493 roundtrip
  • Nice, France (NCE) under $499 roundtrip
  • Switzerland under $493 roundtrip
  • Rome (FCO) under $586
  • Premium Economy to Northern Europe from $673 roundtrip
  • and more! 

But perhaps the best value for flights across the Atlantic isn't in row 38 or row 55. It's in rows 1-10 in many cases. That's right: Business class. 

 

JetBlue Mint biz class

 

This JetBlue Mint deal is just the latest in a broader trend of cheap business class seats flying to Europe. We just flew JetBlue Mint to Amsterdam (AMS), and we thought it was fantastic. Flyers in Boston (BOS) or New York (JFK) (or anyone willing to book a positioning flight to get there) could snag these sizzling fares. 

 

La Compagnie

 

The all-business class airline La Compagnie also jumped in on the insanely low roundtrip fares to Europe this summer and beyond. Want to fly nonstop to northern Italy or Paris? $1,999 roundtrip will get the job done! 

While the Consumer Price Index doesn't account for flights booked with points and miles, it's clear that points and miles availability and low cash prices tend to go hand-in-hand. When the airlines need to fill empty seats, they'll do whatever they can to fill the seat, including slashing prices or making them available to book with partners. In the last few weeks, we've sent the following points and miles business class options, too. 

Europe doesn't get all the credit for the drop in airfare. In fact, flying across the Pacific Ocean is getting cheaper, too. Just a few days ago, we found Delta fares down to Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) and Sydney, Australia (SYD) from just $756 roundtrip. 

  

Australia New Zealand  

That's not all. This deal was one of the most popular of the month, giving travelers a look at some super cheap, nonstop, main cabin flights to Tokyo (HND, NRT) this fall and winter. 

 

Tokyo flight deal

 

Closer to home, cheap flights to Latin America and the Caribbean are also driving average fares lower. The fall season is especially cheap for these locales, but good availability is opening up into the winter season, too. 

Costa Rica, anyone? 

 

Costa Rica

 

These roundtrip fares to Liberia (LIR) and San Jose (SJO) were stunning. Many of our members were able to snag these low fares, which were about half-off the normal rates or more. 

The same trends are taking hold in the Caribbean, where cheap, nonstop flights to San Juan (SJU) are easier to find than ever. 

 

SJU nonstop

 

Finally, flying in and around the continental United States is also cheaper than before. In June 2024, 698,918 flights operated within the United States, according to data from Cirium, an aviation analytics company, with a total of 92 million seats! That's compared to just 146,818 flights abroad, or 28 million seats. 

So domestic airfare is going to drive increases or decreases in average fares far more than international fares. And you could probably guess…domestic airfare is cheap right now. 

Let's start in New York City, a perennially popular U.S. destination featuring three major airports. All that competition leads to fares like these. 

 

New York City

 

You don't have to hit the big city to get a good deal, though. How about a summertime trip to Lake Tahoe (RNO)?

 

Reno Tahoe deal

 

We have countless examples of cheap domestic flights we can choose from. We find them every single day. We search for cheap flights to and from more than 200 U.S. and Canadian airports, so we're always finding the lowest fares that drive down that national average. 

Read: The Best Day to Book Flights and Buy Airfare

 

Bottom Line

We've said it before and we'll say it again (and again and again): Cheap flights haven't gone anywhere. They're getting easier to find.

After watching prices seemingly skyrocket last year, things are clearly moving in the right direction. While an 5% drop in average flight prices last month is impressive on its own, it's just the latest consecutive decrease, bringing flight prices down by the same percentage compared to a year ago. 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 Responses

  • Unfortunately this is a case where the curtain needs to be pulled back. It’s just my opinion, but I think what is happening here is that when judging the cost, upsell fees are not being taken into consideration. Sure, the basic cost may be down on it’s face, but those are all basic economy fares and as the airlines well know, the vase majority of fliers pay up for seats, bags, etc. I believe the DOT measures airfare pricing based on the total price of the fare NOT including extras; which is basically everything now and easily ads $80-$200 to that actual fare that is not included in the price measured.

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