Frequent travelers and globetrotters have felt it for a while. There’s a sense that travelers are ready and willing to get back out there. People are already traveling more this year than they have in quite some time. At the same time, there are challenges. Inflation is driving airfare prices higher. The mask mandate is gone for now, but there can still be tension on flights between the masked and unmasked. On top of that, the airlines are still struggling to staff up for a post-pandemic future. With the airlines still sorting things out after a long travel dry spell, It begs the question: will this summer be a nightmare for consumers? And how are the airlines managing the increased demand?

Travelers should expect full flights

For the airlines to remain profitable, it’s in their best interest to fly full or nearly full airplanes. And right now the airlines are struggling with capacity issues. There are more people who want to fly than there are flights (some markets). The airlines have been operating at a much more lean manner for years now, and there are routes that have ben cut or even eliminated that they are now working to build back. There’s no silver bullet for how you can avoid full flights. If you’re still stressed about COVID-19, best to wear a mask and manage expectations. The airlines will not be social distancing.

The airlines are definitely struggling to keep up with demand

At the moment, enthusiasm for travel is keeping travelers motivated, even in the face of rising prices. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better. The airline industry is still rebuilding after the decimation of the last couple of years. Many airlines still report staff shortages. Until the airlines can fully staff up, there simply aren’t enough planes with employees to meet the traveler demand. So with a limited number of seats even available right now – you guessed it – prices will continue to climb.

What can travelers do to assure they get the flights they want and airline ticket prices they need?

While the airlines recover and staff back up. It’s going to be best to do everything earlier. You’ll want to shop for flights and book early to get the best prices for your vacation. And though recovery is slow, the good news is that the airlines continue to recover. It might be 2023 before they’re back completely to pre-pandemic capacity, but the airlines have recovered somewhere in the vicinity of 75-95% of pre-pandemic capacity, according to some reports.

For more information on how to book cheap summer flights, visit our Summer Flights page, Domestic Airfare and International Airfare studies. All three offer excellent tips and advice for snagging your next flight at a nice price.

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