CLEVELAND — Planes at Hopkins International Airport have been taking off packed with passengers, but the seats cost a bit more this year. 

What You Need To Know

  • Travel experts said air travel prices are up this summer due to demand and fuel prices

  • They said travelers can save money by being flexible when booking flights 

  • They also suggested trying alternative travel like cruise ships, which are offering deals 

  • They also said if travelers can wait to travel until demand and prices come back down

“Prices are up, there’s no doubt about that,” said Andrew Thomas, associate professor at the University of Akron, who has studied airline travel for years.

Thomas said travelers will continue to feel the sticker pain as the summer continues.

“Simply because of demand, more people are traveling now than even prior to the pandemic,” he said. 

Thomas said with the high demand for travel comes an increase in prices. Besides high demand, he said an increase in fuel prices is being felt.

“Revenge travel” is also something happening.

Thomas said people are trying to make up for vacations they missed during the height of the pandemic. He also said that since the CDC dropped the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test for those returning to the U.S., international travel is up. He warned COVID-19 could affect travel again.

“Any reintroduction of the virus into society could impact very well the desires of people to travel,” he said. 

Passenger increases across the state

Other airports across the state keep track of the passenger rates in recent years.

John Glenn Columbus International Airport reported 630,641 passengers in April 2022, higher than April 2021, which only saw 413,942 passengers—roughly a 52% increase—for the month

However, it was still lower than April 2019 before the pandemic, which saw 707,185 passengers—roughly an 11% decrease.

The year-to date passenger totals saw similar trends. The airport reported 2,192,128 passengers, in contrast to 1,233,265 in 2021 and yet still lower than 2,649,447 in 2019.

This graphic shows changes in airline passengers in recent years.(Courtesy of the Business Development Division, Columbus Regional Airport Authority)

The Cincinnati/Northern KY International Airport reported similar data with its passengers. 

In April of 2022, the airport saw 619,718 passengers, compared to 453,542 in April 2021, an increase of almost 37%. For the year-to-date, the airport saw 2,141,537 passengers in 2022, compared to 1,399,628 in 2021, an increase of about 53%.

Finding the right deals

Thomas advised those who still want to travel, if they have the ability to wait, it may be smart to hold off on booking until prices start to come down. 

Christine Hudson with Expedia recommended using a flexible fare calculator to help find the best priced flights. 

Hudson also recommended considering other travel options.

“Right now, capacity is really ramping up for cruise ships. There are some insane deals,” Hudson said.

Hudson also recommended booking all travel items together.

“If I have to book flight, hotel and car, I do it all in one place,” she said. 

According to Expedia, the top destinations from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport are Orlando, Las Vegas, Tampa, Atlanta, Denver and New York City.