Air Travel Costs More, Has Fewer Options This Holiday Season

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Air Travel Costs More, Has Fewer Options This Holiday Season
The average cost of a flight is higher this year than last, with fewer workers and fewer flights adding to the issue.

Millions of travelers this holiday season will have to make sacrifices.

"I've passed up a couple opportunities," traveler Gabriel Harley said. "I had some free time earlier this year, and I was gonna go out to California from Indianapolis, and it was just cost prohibitive."

As the cost of getting from here to there is climbing, it could mean less travel.

This time last year, government statistics show the average cost of a plane ticket in the U.S. was just over $200. Now, it's $294 — a 43% increase.

"Traffic is expected to be steady throughout the holiday season which is typically our busiest travel time," said Dana Schield, spokesperson for Colorado Springs Airport.

Despite the increased demand, airlines are still operating limited flights, thanks mostly to an ongoing pilot shortage that will take years to recover from, as airlines ramp up the long process of training pilots to join their ranks.

Add labor disputes and fuel costs on top of it all, and it's a messy time to be in the business of air travel.

On the road, it's still pricey. Filling up runs people 10% more now than it did last November, and inflation is also pushing the cost of rental cars and hotels up.

"We're believing that a lot of the lower gas prices in other parts of the country is actually contributing to the lower national average," said Ragina Ali, spokesperson for AAA. "However some states on the East coast, Maryland included, have actually seen a slight increase over the last week or so."

That means as the holiday season approaches, padding the budget could keep a trip to loved ones in traveler's plans.