What Is Revenge Travel & Why Is It Driving Up Flight Costs?

Airlines are struggling to keep up with the current demand.

Photo by Markus Mainka/Shutterstock
Photo by Markus Mainka/Shutterstock

We won't sugarcoat it: Travel this summer is going to be anything but seamless, with increased fares and even more flight cancellations. That isn't stopping Americans from participating though. That's kind of the problem. 

With nine out of 10 US citizens planning trips this summer now that it's safer to do so, the industry is struggling to keep up. And while this "revenge travel"—a.k.a. the sudden boom in demand after two years of staying home—is great for airline profits, it isn't for our wallets.

According to The Washington Post, the industry has seen something of a perfect storm between this revenge travel phenomenon and rising gas prices and inflation. Domestic flight prices are already up 40% since the beginning of the year with expectations for those numbers to only rise 10%, Axios reports. Meanwhile, hotels and home rentals have jumped as well.

"A tremendous amount of demand [is] from travelers who have not been able to travel the last two spring and summer seasons," economist at Hopper Haley Berg told ABC News. "And the second factor is jet fuel. Jet fuel prices are also up 40% since the beginning of the year and up 75% since this time last year. Demand and higher jet fuel prices together are really driving overall domestic airfare up."

But even amidst this spike in pricing, many Americans seem willing to drop the cash to get out of town.

"We’ve all been stuck at home for two years, and I think now that we have the opportunity to get out, there’s going to be a lot of willingness to pay," lead airline analyst at Fitch Ratings Joe Rohlena told WaPo. "If it remains expensive to travel further out, then you may see that kind of willingness to pay higher ticket prices back off."

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Megan Schaltegger is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist.