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Fall Travel Forecast: Will Fall Travel Be as Bad as Summer?

SmarterTravel

The summer travel season has been chaotic this year, with soaring rates of flight delays, cancellations, and lost baggage. Will fall travel be just as bad? We asked air travel experts for their predictions on what to expect if you’re planning a trip this fall. 

Close up of an LED display board showing a flight delay
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Should You Expect Delays and Cancelations This Fall?

Flight delays are continuing to rise as we close out the summer, but historically, delays have decreased moving into the less busy fall travel season. According to Hayley Berg, Lead Economist at Hopper, a travel booking site, “Delay rates are rising in late 2022, with delays impacting over 25% of departures from US airports in the last week.” 

However, once demand slows down in the fall, delays and cancellations should decrease as well. According to Hopper, delay rates generally drop to 12% of flights in September and 14% in October. 

While you can expect to see fewer crowds at the airport in the fall, airlines are still suffering from the same operational issues that caused delays and cancellations throughout the summer. “With airlines continuing to face operational challenges resulting from staffing and training gaps, we expect elevated disruption rates over busy travel days for the fall season,” says Berg.

When planning your fall trip, be sure to leave lots of extra time for connections, and plan to arrive a day or two earlier than any important events in order to give yourself a buffer in case of delays and cancellations. 

Will Flight Prices Stay High for Fall Travel?

Hopper predicts that average domestic ticket prices will drop to $286 in August (a decrease of 25% compared to the peak prices found in May 2022). Flyers can expect to see average fares around (or below) $300 through September, before rising in October and November for holiday travel.

Fall is shoulder season for many popular warm weather destinations, and it can be a great time to plan a trip. You’ll find lower prices and fewer crowds, and the weather is likely to still be temperate in hot spots like Europe or beach destinations. 

How to Find a Cheap Flight This Fall

Close up of a hand using a smartphone with a flight arrival and departure board out-of-focus in the background
Kannapat | Adobe Stock

Mark Crossey, US Travel Expert at flight search site Skyscanner, offers the following tips for finding a cheap flight this fall:

  • Book in advance
  • Avoid peak travel times like federal holidays
  • Use Skyscanner’s whole month search tool to see which dates are the cheapest if you can be flexible 
  • Fly on less popular days of the week (such as Tuesdays or Wednesdays)

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