COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – On Sunday the U.S. lifted its COVID-19 test requirement for international travel. Now, American travelers can book flights abroad without fears of being stranded due to a positive test.
The change means one less thing on the checklist for travelers and the C.D.C. will use the next 90 days as a trial run. As the Biden administration lifts the requirement, the agency says they are going to monitor the state of the pandemic.
However, as restrictions ease, there are still other things travelers need to consider before packing their suitcases.
Americans may experience some sticker shock when it comes to flight prices. According to flight tracking website, Hopper, domestic airfare is up 34% this summer compared to 2019. Comparatively, international airfare is only up 2.5% compared to 2019.
The U.S. Travel Association says 28% of travelers plan to spend significantly more than they did in 2019 “due to higher prices as well as accumulated savings.”
High passenger demand, fuel prices and staffing shortages are all impacting the cost of going wheels up this summer. Donna Anderson with travel agency Travels by Donna says there simply are not enough seats for how many people are looking to get away.
“You also have to remember there aren’t that many flights going into each market anymore,” Anderson said. “They’ve cut the flights back. So where you have three flights now at a destination, all of the flights are getting booked by everyone throughout the country. So if the availability is not there, the prices are really high. They go up.”
This also comes as several global airlines have canceled flights over the last few months. Many are facing staff shortages ranging from pilots to maintenance workers. Flight cancellations lead to long lines at the airports, long layovers, and angry passengers trying to get to their destination. Despite potential roadblocks, Americans are planning their getaways.
Anderson told News 3 that travelers need to start booking now for their Thanksgiving and winter holiday travel. She explains that most airlines do free flight changes. If flight prices go down from what travelers are paying now, they can just re-book for the cheaper price. They can use the rest of the money as credit for a future flight.
Booking early locks in your seat – as the holiday booking craze is expected to pick up in the next two months.